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FTC Chair’s Efforts To Curb Corporate Power ‘Raise Questions’

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lost a key antitrust case on July 11 after a federal judge rejected the agency’s move to halt Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game holding company Activision Blizzard. FTC Chair Lina Khan has argued that, win or lose, the mere act of taking tech behemoths to court would be a partial victory by signaling the pressing need to update antitrust laws for today’s digital economy (New York Times, 12/7/22). But the Times‘ Cecilia Kang (7/11/23) wrote that the latest rulings “raise questions” about Khan’s strategy, with “critics…speaking out more loudly.” As to which critics are raising these questions, the Times buries the lead.

Amazon’s Tight Grip On Cloud Computing Poses Multiple Threats

Cloud infrastructure and services are the backbone of the modern economy. The world’s biggest companies, including many banks, hospitals, streaming services, consumer goods companies and far more, all store troves of data in the cloud and rely on cloud applications and services to operate. In light of this essential role, ILSR is deeply concerned about high levels of concentration in cloud computing and the ability of the sector’s dominant firms, led by Amazon, to exploit their control over this infrastructure and the data they glean from it. In a comment letter to the Federal Trade Commission, ILSR urged the agency to use its enforcement and regulatory powers to address the anti-competitive conduct of Amazon’s cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services.

Will The Federal Trade Commission Lead The Climate Reformation?

As of last year, more than a third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies had set targets to reach net zero carbon emissions, up from a fifth in December 2020. But a dirty little secret lies behind most net zero commitments: Companies are buying carbon offsets to meet their goals — paying for absolution just like pre-Reformation Catholics buying Indulgences to offset their sins. Under the law, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has the power to hold companies liable for marketing that harms consumers’ health or wealth by misleading them into buying a product or service based on a false or deceptive claim. The FTC just closed public comment on how to amend its classic Green Guides in light of new market realities.
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