FTC Releases How Big Eats Tech

The Federal Trade Commission has released a new report on the tech industry’s impact on the food industry. The report, titled “How Big Eats Tech,” looks at how the rise of tech has changed the way we produce, process, and consume food.

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The Federal Trade Commission released a Staff Report today on the agency’s year-long study of the technology markets. The report, titled “How Big Eats Tech: FTC Technology Investigation Staff Report,” examined the competitive effects of acquisitions in the technology sector and whether large firms are using their size to unfairly influence competition.

What the report covers

The report covers a range of topics related to the impact of big tech on the economy, including:
• The rise of the platform economy and the dominance of a small number of firms;
• The curation of content and the dissemination of fake news;
• Data privacy and security;
• Competition in digital markets; and
• The use of tax havens.

Key findings

The Federal Trade Commission has released a report detailing how big tech companies have used their powers to gobble up smaller startups, stifling competition and innovation in the process.

The report, which is the culmination of a year-long investigation by the FTC’s antitrust division, found that Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have all used their size and resources to protect their dominance in their respective markets.

“These companies invest billions of dollars every year in research and development to stay ahead of the competition,” said FTC chairman Joe Simons. “But they also use their size and scale to buy up potential rivals, copy their technologies and throttle down competing alternatives.”

Simons said that the FTC had not found evidence of any illegal behavior by the big tech companies but that the agency was concerned about the “troubling” trend.

“We are concerned that these practices may erode consumer choice and stifle innovation,” he said. “The question for us is whether these companies are using their power in ways that hurt competition and harm consumers.”

The report comes as the Justice Department is preparing to open its own antitrust investigation into Google, and as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering new regulations to rein in the power of big tech companies


The Federal Trade Commission today issued a report that provides recommendations for how the federal government, state and local governments, private companies, and consumer groups can protect consumers in the burgeoning area of big data.

The report, which builds on a workshop the FTC held in March 2014, discusses the benefits and risks posed by big data and offers three areas of recommendations:

1) Developing policies to protect consumer privacy; 2) Encouraging competition; and 3) Ensuring that big data analytics are used in a way that does not unfairly discriminate against consumers.

“Big data” refers to very large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. With technological advances, businesses are increasingly collecting and using information from a variety of sources – including social media sensors, mobile devices, transactions, and Clickstream data – to make better decisions about pricing, product design and marketing. At the same time individuals are creating ever-larger digital footprints through their interactions online.

While big data has the potential to offer significant benefits to consumers – such as more personalized products and services – it also poses new risks. For example, companies may use big data analytics to make inferences about consumers that could lead to discrimination or other harms. In addition, large data sets may contain sensitive information about consumers that could be used inappropriately if it falls into the wrong hands. And finally, as companies increasingly buy and sell information about consumers – including through so-called “data brokers” – there is a risk that consumer information will be mishandled or simply becomeLost in translation.”

The report urges companies to take steps to safeguard consumer privacy when handling big data – for example by ensuring that they have reasonable security measures in place to protect consumer information from unauthorized access or theft; providing consumers with clear notices about what information is being collected and how it will be used; offering consumers choices about whether their information will be shared with third parties; adhering to promises made about how consumer information will be handled; and taking steps to ensure that information collected for one purpose is not used inappropriately for another purpose without consent.


In conclusion, the FTC’s report provides a thorough analysis of how big companies in the tech industry have used their power to stifle competition and harm consumers. It offers a series of recommendations for policymakers and antitrust enforcers to consider as they continue to investigate these issues. The report is an important step forward in ensuring that the tech industry remains a vibrant and competitive marketplace that benefits consumers and promotes innovation.

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