Deputy Attorney General Rosen released a statement on Monday stating that the Department of Justice is willing to broaden its review of technology cases beyond Antitrust laws. This statement was released during Rosen’s participation in the American Bar Association’s 2019 Antitrust Fall Forum.
The question that Deputy Attorney General Rosen sought to address in his statement involved how antitrust law could potentially prevent competitive deficiencies within the technology industry due to increased integration of digital markets, data and intellectual property in our everyday lives. He stated:
Today in the 21st Century, we marvel at the World Wide Web and mobile technology, but we once again face questions about the consolidation of power by some companies that provide platforms for information exchange and related technologies. Some of today’s leading online platforms were in their infancy, or did not even exist, just two decades ago. In a relatively short amount of time, they have disrupted industries, amassed substantial economic power, and developed business models that monetize potentially sensitive consumer information they control.
Deputy Attorney General Rosen acknowledge that the laws promulgated as part of the Sherman Antitrust Act may not adequately solve technology issues that arise today. He expressed:
We do not view antitrust laws as a panacea for every problem in the digital world. Indeed, we will not ignore any harms caused by online platforms that partially or completely fall outside the antitrust laws. We are keeping in mind other tools in areas such as privacy, consumer protection, and public safety as part of a broader review of online platforms, to whatever extent warranted.
As the technology industry evolves, it may be necessary to look outside of Antitrust laws for solutions.