Exclusive--Jeff Landry: State Attorneys General 'Have Had Enough' of Big Tech
Louisiana Attorney General (AG) Jeff Landry told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Wednesday that many state attorneys general have “had enough” of big tech, and they will “take action” after significant investigations.
AG Landry spoke with Breitbart News as a Wall Street Journal report revealed that many state attorneys general could launch an antitrust investigation into America’s largest technology companies as soon as September. The report suggested that they could focus on whether these companies stifle competition by using their concentrated marketplace powers. The attorneys general would likely issue civil investigative demands, which act similarly to subpoenas, to tech giants and other companies.
Landry told Breitbart News that the attorneys general have had several bipartisan meetings, including meetings with the Department of Justice (DOJ), over issues regarding big tech. He also said that they met with Attorney General William Barr. The Louisiana Republican said that they will “take action” after gathering evidence against big tech.
“You know I would tell you that if everybody thinks it’s just saber-rattling, then they’re wrong,” Landry told Breitbart News. “At some point in time we believe when there’s smoke there’s fire, and at a timewhen we are able to gather evidence, we’re going to take action.”
Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for the antitrust division at the DOJ, said Tuesday that “a couple of dozen states” are interested big tech for antitrust concerns.
Landry’s interview arises as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as the DOJ, have launched their own antitrust investigations. The FTC continues to look into whether Facebook purchased WhatsApp or Instagram to prevent those companies from becoming competitors.
The Louisiana attorney general said that the federal government and the attorneys general have not paid enough attention to past “mergers and acquisitions that have happened with big tech, getting behind the technology of nascent technology.”
Landry also said that big tech companies enjoy significant legal immunity from civil litigation through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
He said, “The problem is what we’re heard from big tech over the last 24 months is that their actions do not match their rhetoric.”
“Big tech enjoys immunity from civil actions, which no other industry enjoys,” Landry added. “They’re immune from civil action in court. That’s problematic.”
Landry continued, “How many times have we heard from Facebook when something was taken off the platform, it was an accident? Only for it to happen and they say it was a glitch in the particular platform … many attorney generals have had enough. They cried wolf so many times; we don’t believe you. Certainly, we should be looking deeper at the actions that are inflicted on consumers.”
The Louisiana attorney general also said that AG Barr has a strong knowledge of the issues surrounding big tech, believing that he is the right man to tackle big tech.
Landry said, “I can tell you from visiting General Barr — he has a firm grip on these issues. He understands the impact that big tech is having on consumers, and I am absolutely looking forward to his leadership in these cases. He is the right man for this particular job.”