WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), along with ten of his House colleagues, sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division Jonathan Kanter urging FTC and DOJ to increase scrutiny of Big Tech’s expanding reach in the auto industry. These powerful tech companies have taken significant steps in recent years to strengthen their influence in the industry.
“We write today to call your attention to Big Tech’s creeping capture and takeover of the automobile industry,” the lawmakers wrote. “Big Tech is rapidly doing to cars what it already did to cell phones. Urgent action is needed to protect workers, privacy, and the competitive landscape.”
The lawmakers continued, “Each Big Tech giant has made significant moves to capture part of the auto market. Google played hardball to coerce many automakers into accepting their all-or-nothing Google Automotive Services package. It works with manufacturers to embed its operating system directly into vehicles as the default infotainment system, and is rapidly expanding its self-driving car subsidiary Waymo. Apple is accelerating its ambitious plans for autonomous vehicles and moving to lock out competitors from key markets and sources of data by using its digital key technology as leverage. Amazon is working with manufacturers to build its Alexa voice assistant into vehicles; it also owns significant stakes in an autonomous taxi company and an electric truck company (potential Tesla competitor Rivian), and may use either to swallow more consumer data or further pry open the auto market for itself. And while Facebook claims it is not developing an autonomous vehicle, it is likely betting on dominating the social experience in autonomous vehicles through its massive troves of behavioral data and pivoting towards virtual reality and artificial intelligence.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.
The full list of signatories includes: Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), David Cicilline (RI-01), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Andy Levin (MI-09), Marie Newman (IL-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
The letter has the endorsement of Accountable Tech, American Economic Liberties Project, American Family Voices, Athena, Blue Future, Demand Progress, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, IronPAC, Jobs with Justice, Libraries without Borders, Main Street Alliance, Media Alliance, Ocean Futures Society, OD Action, OpenMIC, Other 98%, Our Revolution, People's Parity Project, PowerSwitch Action, Progress America, Public Citizen, Revolving Door Project, Social Security Works.