Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry told Breitbart News that attorneys general across America — both Democrat and Republican — are considering “all actions,” including the use of existing antitrust law, to curb the growing power held by technology firms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Landry offered his remarks in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
“We have seen a tremendous amount of consolidation in regard to social platforms and the tech industry over the last decade, and the result of that has become a handful of companies that have amassed a tremendous amount of data and power over the U.S. and world economy,” said Landry.
Landry added, “Just the fact that they can censor any type of speech is problematic, on top of the fact that the monetization of people’s personal data is enriching these companies at the expense of the consumer.”
A bipartisan consensus among America’s attorneys general is arising with respect to the increasing concentration of power among several technology firms, remarked Landry.
“When you talk to attorneys general around the country — irrespective of whether they’re Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — there is an instinct that something is going on, there is this instinctive feeling that something must be done with these companies, that they have become too big,” Landry claimed.
Marlow asked, “This is an issue where it seems like right and left, all of a sudden, are unified in their skepticism over the way these big tech giants [became] so rich and powerful. They’re the biggest lobbyists in Washington, D.C. They operate completely opaquely [with] almost no transparency. So you probably have found some — maybe unexpected — camaraderie with some of your Democrat colleagues in this regard?”
Landry replied, “What makes America great is that no one is bigger than the people, right? No one is truly bigger than the government which, of course, is a government of the people. Historically, when corporations in this country, in our free market economy, have amassed monopolistic power — power to basically control the economy — the people have stood up and said, ‘Enough is enough. Something must be done.’ There’s been a lot of positive that has come out of government taking action in this type of matter.”
“All action is on top of the table,” continued Landry. “In a couple of weeks — in fact, I think it’s next week on the 25th — there’s a roundtable being conducted by attorneys general in front of the FEC to discuss this, to discuss the harm that it’s placing on consumers, whether or not it will lead to antitrust action against the companies, or whether or not we should be looking more carefully on any mergers or consolidations or buyouts by these tech companies.”
Increasing concentration of power within Silicon Valley undermines free markets and human freedom, remarked Landry.
“When you look at the amount of data, the amount of processing power that these companies have at their disposal, they know more about you than you know about yourself,” said Landry. “We’ve seen them make comments like, ‘We can basically bend the consumer in the direction we want him to go rather than what he wants.’ That’s not independence. That’s not liberty. That’s not a free market.”
Landry said technology companies’ power is beginning to usurp government in terms of “shaping social policy”:
That’s what the Sherman Antitrust Act in the late 1800s was written exactly for. The definition, the reasoning behind it, was exactly what you just explained [about viewpoint discrimination and corporate censorship], because in our free form of government, under our democracy, we believe that no one entity should be more powerful than the government in shaping social policy.That’s something that’s best left to elected officials and to the people as a whole. That’s one of the reasons I stood up here in Louisiana and led an effort to throw Bank of America and Citigroup out of representing the state of Louisiana in some transportation bond transactions, because they had taken a position on the Second Amendment. That’s not their job. Their job is to lend money, and as long as the activity is legal, then they should be engaging in that process. We shouldn’t have these boardrooms shaping social policy. That’s best left to the government.
Technology companies’ biases are not exclusively political, warned Landry, noting how search engine users can be deceived by Google’s ad practices.
“We’ll be looking at whether Google’s ad practices hurt the consumer, [and] whether or not there’s an expectation by the consumer [for unbiased search results],” said Landry. “Because one of the things that I think Americans and mostly people around the world have come to appreciate when they utilize the internet and when they go into that search bar is that there’s an expectation that what they’re searching for is not tainted — there’s no bias attached to that — and what we’re finding is that there are.”
Landry concluded, “When we’re talking about bias, let’s not even talk about it in the political space. Let’s talk about bias in the product space. There’s an expectation, in my opinion, that when you go in there and you search for shoes or you search for a type of shoe, that you’re not looking only for the best price but also for quality in that best price. But what we’re finding and what we’re hearing from the consumers out there is that is not the case.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.