In an attempt to put a lid on growing cases of malpractice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Tuesday that it is launching a new task force dedicated mainly to monitoring the tech industry for any anti-competitive practices. The task force launched by FTC has been designed to examine industry practices, monitor mergers, and conduct law enforcement investigations. the news was made public by the FTC in a press release on Tuesday.
As per the report, the task force will comprise of 17 staff attorneys, which would include attorneys with deep knowledge in complex product and service markets. The team will also have a tech guy who would provide the necessary technical help and expertise.
“The role of technology in the economy and in our lives grows more important every day. As I’ve noted in the past, it makes sense for us to closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons.
As per FTC’s press release, the task force will be led by Patricia Galvan, currently the deputy assistant director of the Mergers III Division, and Krisha Cerilli, currently counsel to the director. The economic task force will be led by economists from the FTC’s Bureau of Economics.
Speaking about the launch of a new task force, Bureau Director Bruce Hoffman said, “Technology markets, which are rapidly evolving and touch so many other sectors of the economy, raise distinct challenges for antitrust enforcement.”
“By centralizing our expertise and attention, the new task force will be able to focus on these markets exclusively – ensuring they are operating pursuant to the antitrust laws, and taking action where they are not,” he added.
The decision to form a task force has come at such a time when tech companies are facing numerous challenges regarding their credibility in the U.S. and abroad.
In an important development earlier this month, the German anti-trust authority ‘Bundeskartellamt’ ruled that Facebook must obtain consent before collecting data on users outside of the main Facebook networking service.
Meanwhile in the U.S., many critics and consumer advocates believe that US regulatory agencies should aggressively enforce anti-trust laws and they should be more proactive in their approach.