US lawmakers question FTC's antitrust investigation of Google
The agency's focus on unfair business practices would be an 'unwarranted' expansion of its power, two Democrats say
IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission may be headed toward an "unwarranted" power grab in its antitrust investigation of Google, two lawmakers from Silicon Valley have said.
Media reports have suggested the FTC may accuse Google of unfair or deceptive business practices in addition to antitrust violations, but the additional charges would be an expanded role for the agency in antitrust cases, wrote Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, both California Democrats.
"Such a massive expansion of FTC jurisdiction would be unwarranted, unwise, and likely have negative implications for our nation's economy," the two wrote in a Monday letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
Some other lawmakers have also questioned the FTC's investigation of Google and its expected use of Section 5 of the FTC Act to charge Google with unfair business practices. This month, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) raised similar concerns about the FTC's Google investigation, but the questions to Leibowitz from Eshoo and Lofgren come from fellow Democrats.
"Expanding the FTC's Section 5 powers to include antitrust matters could lead to overbroad authority that amplifies uncertainty and stifles growth," said the letter from Eshoo and Lofgren. "These effects may be most acutely felt among online services, a crucial engine of job creation, where technological advancement and small business innovation are rapid."
The letter also raised concerns about leaks to the news media involving "sensitive details" in the investigation. The FTC has "a responsibility to remain fair and impartial while protecting the confidentiality of internal discussions among the parties involved," the letter said.
In October, some new media services reported on an FTC draft memo recommending that the agency file an antitrust lawsuit against Google.
One source with knowledge of the investigation has suggested that Google, and not the FTC, may be releasing details of the investigation to the news media.
Google declined to comment on the letter. An FTC spokeswoman didn't immediately response to a request for comments.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- OpenStack and Red Hat: IDC White paper Most OpenStack deployments are by public cloud providers that are early adopters of technology and use OpenStack in a do-it-yourself deployment and support...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Internet Search White Papers | Webcasts