On Wednesday July 27, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google testified before Congress, answering questions about market power and competition. Ahead of the hearing, RILA President Brian Dodge published an op-ed on CNBC urging lawmakers to press the tech leaders about their online marketplace platforms' role in organized retail crime. Chairman Cicilline along with Representatives Scanlon, Neguse, Raskin, Armstrong, Buck, Jayapal, and McBath pressed Mr. Bezos to answer tough questions about Amazon’s use of seller data (despite supposed firewalls), counterfeit goods, AWS, market power, and of particular note stolen goods.
Importantly, Congresswoman McBath with the final question of the hearing elicited the confession from Mr. Bezos that stolen goods are sold on Amazon and that he neither knew whether name, address, and phone number were collected from sellers nor how or by whom their identities are verified. A clip of this questioning can be found here. Additional media accounts can be found at:
- Wall Street Journal has play-by-play analysis of the full hearing here.
- Retail Dive article on the full hearing here.
ImplicationsThis hearing is an inflection point in the scrutiny that big tech has faced by policymakers. While legislation to reform antitrust will not happen this year, the report that the Antitrust Subcommittee will release is likely to be influential. Mr. Bezos’ answers demonstrates in stark terms the need for passage of bipartisan legislation endorsed by RILA and introduced by Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Cassidy (R-LA) and Congresswoman Schakowsky (D-IL) to address seller transparency and verification. RILA will continue working with Congress to advance this legislation to curb organized retail crime this year while also informing longer term antitrust policy developments.
If you have any questions, please contact Nicholas Ahrens, vice president of innovation.
Technology & Innovation