Biden sees work needed to address problems created by big tech firms -White House


FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks prior to signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden believes steps are needed to safeguard privacy, bolster innovation and deal with other problems created by big technology platforms, the White House said on Tuesday, signaling his support for legislation concerning Big Tech.

Biden is encouraged by bipartisan work underway in Congress to tackle these issues, the official said, a day before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee votes on a package of antitrust bills, some of which target the market power of large tech firms.

"These platforms have transformed our daily lives, and showcase our country's ingenuity and potential, but also create real problems for users, small businesses, and tech startups," said the White House official.

"The president believes we need to address the problems these platforms create to protect privacy, generate more innovation, and make sure the great tech companies of the future can emerge and grow right here in the U.S.," the official said.

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Wednesday on a package of six antitrust bills, including two that address the issue of giant companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google, creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.

The legislation drew fire on Tuesday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. business group, which warned it would have "dangerous consequences for America."

It said antitrust laws "should not be rigged against a small number of companies."

The White House hoped the bipartisan proposals would move forward in the legislative process and looked forward to working with Congress on the issue, the official added.

In a separate development, the Federal Trade Commission, whose new chairwoman has been critical of Amazon, has decided to review the company's planned purchase of U.S. movie studio MGM, a source familiar with the matter said.

Lina Khan was sworn in as FTC chair on June 15 in what was broadly seen as a victory for progressives seeking tougher antitrust enforcement.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Aurora Ellis)

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