The U.S. could benefit hefty fines and penalties leveled against big tech companies similar to those imposed in the EU following the implementation of strict GDPR regulations, President Donald Trump indicated in a recent interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
President Trump does not believe that the EU's approach to what he refers to as 'monopolies' is the appropriate one, with the commander in chief stating that the U.S. Attorney General would look into the companies 'differently'.
Leaders in the European countries view the situation as an easy way to make money lauded the efforts, the president claims but that doesn't mean it isn't something the U.S. shouldn't be doing. According to President Trump, there is a lot of money to be garnered by going after big tech and that's something the U.S. should be doing too.
Agreement across the aisle
The president's comments come in the midst of impending investigations and ongoing probes into companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. Those are generally centered around concerns of activity and practices that would violate antitrust regulations and law, with probes split between the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the Justice Department.
The FTC will look into Amazon and Facebook, while the Justice Department will looking into Apple and Google.
Investigations and probes are ongoing with regard to other companies in the tech industry as well. Those are specifically aimed at Sprint and T-Mobile's proposed merger. Those follow questions about what impact the merger would have not just on consumers but on the wireless industry in the U.S. T-Mobile and Sprint have argued the move would be good for the rollout of 5G and for consumers.
There seems to be a level of agreement on both sides of the political spectrum with regard to each of the ongoing investigations, with one exception. The president generally agrees that T-Mobile and Sprint should be brought together, spurring some discussion about whether any interference between the White House and Justice Department might influence the decision -- expected sometime this month.
Investigations into the other organizations have most notably been lauded by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), with calls from both sides of the U.S. political spectrum to break the largest of the country's tech companies up. Fueling the possible antitrust litigation that could follow from the probes, representatives have become increasingly concerned by the amount of influence top technology firms have.
Chiefly, worries center around the fact that each of the tech giants has a massive influence across a broad swath of the tech industry, well outside of each companies' respective area of focus. For instance, Google's primary business is advertising but the company also holds a significant amount of sway in the autonomous vehicle, AI, and home IoT industries as well as in web browsing and search -- among other things. Each company currently being looked into follows a similar pattern of influence.
Breaking a stalemate?
Political divides have generally been viewed as widening in the U.S. under the current administration and technology companies have played a key role in that divide. Primarily, that has been due to reports of interference in the election process leading to Donald Trump's presidency through misappropriation of the influence those companies hold over the populace. Conversely, some tension has remained because of alleged bias from the companies themselves against conservatives and the president.
The two parties are, however, in agreement that technology companies wield too much influence. Details about any plans the president may have to impose fines against the companies or otherwise bring an end to their 'monopolies' are not immediately clear. But this may ultimately become a rallying point that begins to close the gap between political opponents on either side of the aisle.