US President Joe Biden signed an executive order meant to promote competition in the economy.
United States President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order meant to promote competition in the American economy — including net neutrality, right to repair, and more.
The “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy” called on US agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement 72 specific provisions.
The topics include codifying “right to repair” rules, restoring net neutrality provisions repealed during the prior administration, and increasing scrutiny of tech monopolies, among others.
In a press conference, Biden emphasized a few of the provisions before signing the order as he singled out requests that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) let people buy hearing aids as over-the-counter products — building on a law signed by former US President Donald Trump last 2017 — and that the FTC ban or restrict noncompete clauses that limit the ability of workers to switch jobs, a type of policy that was common in the tech industry.
It asked the Federal Communications Commission to require internet service providers (ISPs) to report prices and subscription rates, prevent internet service providers from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ options, and revive Obama-era net neutrality rules.
The Verge reported that right-to-repair efforts could also get a shot in the arm as Biden tasked the Federal Trade Commission with trying to “limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs”.
And when it comes to Big Tech, The Verge reported that the Biden administration’s agenda specifically included a mandate to require “greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.”
Through the Federal Trade Commission, the Biden administration planned a push to place more rules on surveillance and data collection, which should affect many of the largest tech firms in the world.
The Biden administration even addressed limited potential patent policy reform, asking the Secretary of Commerce and the Attorney General to examine their position on “the intersection of the intellectual property and antitrust laws” in order to prevent an “anticompetitive extension of market power beyond the scope of granted patents”.
Based on a report, the Biden administration claimed that the 72 initiatives were being undertaken to promote competition and to raise wages. However, it will be up to different agencies, as well as Congress, to provide funding and action in order to make those things happen.