Some of the country’s most influential state attorneys general are signaling they’re willing to take action against Facebook, Google and other tech giants, warning that the companies have grown too big and powerful—and that Washington has been too slow to respond.
For many of these top law enforcement officials, reports The Washington Post, the fear is that Silicon Valley has amassed too much personal information about web users and harnessed it in a way that’s jeopardized people’s privacy and undermined competition, often without much oversight.
“I think what we’ve found is that big tech has become too big and that while we may have been asleep at the wheel, they were able to consolidate a tremendous amount of power,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says.
Federal regulators have the primary responsibility for keeping watch over Silicon Valley—they can break up monopolies, for example, and penalize companies for privacy abuses. But some state officials feel that Washington bears some of the blame for the tech industry’s string of scandals in the first place. Lawmakers in Congress long have struggled to adopt a national law targeting tech giants’ data-collection practices, while federal agencies have allowed many of the headline-grabbing mishaps at Facebook and Google to go unpunished.
In response, states like Arizona and Mississippi now are taking aim at Google for the way it collects and monetizes web users’ data. The District of Columbia, meanwhile, is challenging Facebook’s business practices in court. And there are “numerous bipartisan discussions” among Democrats and Republicans about other areas where attorneys general can coordinate their attention on big tech, Landry says. Read the full story.