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Net Neutrality to Make a Comeback

Repealed by Trump, but Biden to now restore it.

The Biden administration revealed a new executive order aimed at reducing anti-competitive behaviour throughout several industries that was taken down by Trump's administration in 2017. This could take substantial powers away from Big Tech and Big Telecom, encouraging greater regulation and enforcement against the two industries.

The new executive order includes more than 70 initiatives designed to promote competition in economic areas where the concentration of technology has made Biden increasingly concerned. Some primary means of reducing the power of Big Tech include persuading the Federal Trade Commission to endorse new rules about the aggregation of personal data, along with banning unfair means of competition in online markets. For example, large platforms developing "copycat" products to displace those from smaller businesses qualifies as unfair.

Biden's administration also aims to encourage the FTC to introduce more scrutiny to mergers by dominant online platforms, with an emphasis on involving smaller competitors, data accumulation, "serial mergers," and the effects of these felt on competition of free products and privacy. Most crucially, the Biden administration's executive order will push for the FCC to restore net neutrality rules that prevent the blocking, paid prioritization, or throttling of web traffic. This has been an increasing problem since the same agency took net neutrality down under Trump's instruction amid massive controversy.

In all, this is a serious attempt to restore policies initially pursued by the FCC of President Obama's administration.

The 2017 repeal also removed a substantial amount of the FCC's consumer protection authority while simultaneously preventing states from protecting consumers in the light of federal indifference.

This could be a sweeping move in favour of small businesses and individual consumers' power on the net. While it may take a while for this new executive order to begin to take effect, this could literally reshape the geography of not only the internet itself, but also the social and economic realities of everyone in the country, in the coming years.


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