Biden moves to limit Big Tech surveillance of users

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President Joe Biden's new competition executive order could make it more difficult for Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Google to collect personal information and data from their users.

The order, which will be signed on Friday, pushes the Federal Trade Commission to create new rules on the surveillance and the accumulation of user data because the business models of many tech companies have “depended on the accumulation of extraordinary amounts of sensitive personal information and related data,” the White House said in a press release on Friday.

Biden's recently appointed trade commission chairwoman, Lina Khan, a vocal anti-monopolist and liberal, has already vowed to take the Big Tech companies on using expanded powers.

The executive order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to tackle unfair corporate behavior in the economy.

Many of these initiatives will go after the Big Tech and telecommunications companies with tactics such as: lowering the cost of internet by increasing competition and transparency among broadband providers, restricting Big Tech companies such as Apple or Microsoft from acquiring smaller competitors that could threaten them, barring unfair behavior by Big Tech platforms such as Amazon and Google in online marketplaces, and making it easier for users to repair their own tech gadgets by barring tech companies from imposing restrictions on outside repairs.

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The order would also establish a new White House Competition Council, led by the director of the National Economic Council, to monitor the progress of all the initiatives within the order and “to coordinate the federal government’s response to the rising power of large corporations in the economy,” the fact sheet said.

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