Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama administration may pursue antitrust actions against some Internet companies


Steve Lohr and Miguel Helft have an important story on p B1, the Business Section, of The New York Times, on plans by the Obama administration to toughen anti-trust legislation against giant, dominant Internet companies. I won’t name names here, because most of the companies are pretty benevolent. (Okay, you can disagree.) But the dominance of a few companies can give them power to influence user behavior and even control Internet content, according to some model of political correctness, if at some time in the future a company wanted to. This would be a big concern in the network neutrality area, even though as a whole these companies have lobbied for network neutrality and say they benefit from it (they do).

I think this is a good topic for the Cato Institute to take up further, although papers written by Tim Lee and others have suggested that network neutrality legislation might gradually have the unintended consequence of causing greater concentration of financial and even political power in a few companies.

Generally, the administration will consider the practical effect on end users in determining how to administer anti-trust laws written decades before for other industries.

The link for the story is here.

Picture: Our president's Blackberry.

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