What just happened? The US Federal Trade Commission has been spending a lot of time and effort in investigating and enforcing violations in the tech industry lately. To help facilitate these recent efforts, the commission has created the Technology Task Force to handle tech-related issues that fall under the FTC’s jurisdiction.
On Tuesday, the commission announced it had developed a “task force” that will be monitoring the tech sector. The team will focus on watchdogging anticompetitive business practices among tech companies and taking action when necessary.
“The role of technology in the economy and in our lives grows more important every day,” said FTC Chairman and former Director of the Bureau of Competition Joe Simons. “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. Our ongoing Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century are a crucial step to deepen our understanding of these markets and potential competitive issues. The Technology Task Force is the next step in that effort.”
The Technology Task Force will be comprised of members of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. The group’s roles will be modeled after the commission’s already successful Merger Litigation Task Force.
“In addition to examining industry practices and conducting law enforcement investigations, the Technology Task Force will [also] coordinate and consult with staff throughout the FTC on technology-related matters, including prospective merger reviews in the technology sector.”
“The new task force team will include approximately 17 staff attorneys,” the FTC said in its press release. “[It] will include attorneys with unique expertise in complex product and service markets and ecosystems, including markets for online advertising, social networking, mobile operating systems and apps, and platform businesses.”
The new division will be headed up by the Deputy Assistant Director of the Mergers III Division Patricia Galvan and Counsel to the Director Krisha Cerilli.
The creation of the Technology Task Force should come as no surprise considering the number of resources and effort the commission has recently been devoting to issues within the tech sector. From the investigation into Amazon over alleged deceptive discounting practices to looking into the controversy over loot boxes in video games, there is no shortage of tech issues for the new division to monitor.