DOJ Official Signals Firm Stance Against ‘Killer Acquisitions’

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who oversees the agency’s antitrust division, said the Justice Department will not shy away from enforcing antitrust laws against so-called killer acquisitions, where dominant firms buy start-ups before they can become competitive threats. Acquisitions of nascent competitors, she said, “are one category of particularly concerning transactions because they undermine competition that can disrupt monopolies.”

Justice Releases More Details On Secret Seizures Of Journalists’ Records

The Biden Justice Department on Wednesday released a more detailed accounting of recently revealed federal law enforcement efforts to secretly obtain journalists’ phone records, attempting to honor a public commitment to transparency and disclosing for the first time that Attorney General Merrick Garland personally approved keeping one case under wraps.

Justice Dept. Said To Accelerate Google Ad Inquiry

The moves may result in a second antitrust lawsuit against Google before the end of the year.

Biden’s Antitrust Team Signals A Big Swing At Corporate Titans

The president has stacked his administration with crusaders who have spent their careers challenging corporate consolidation.

Biden To Appoint Big Tech Critic To DOJ Antitrust Role

President Biden plans to appoint lawyer Jonathan Kanter as the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division, the White House announced Tuesday, another sign of the administration’s intention to take on Big Tech.  Kanter has been a favorite pick of progressive organizations pushing for the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission to do more to crack down on anticompetitive conduct, especially in the tech industry.

DOJ Sets New Rules Limiting Seizure Of Journalists’ Phone And Email Records

The Justice Department formally announced new rules designed to greatly limit prosecutors’ ability to obtain phone and email records of journalists. The rules, unveiled Monday by Attorney General Merrick Garland, came after the revelation that the DOJ subpoenaed information from reporters for CNN, Washington Post and The New York Times, part of an effort that started during Donald Trump’s administration and largely played out without the journalists’ knowledge. The journalists were not targets of an investigation but were believed to be part of an effort to probe the source of leaks to the news media.

Attempt To Seize Post Reporters’ Email Data Came Day Before Barr Left Office

Newly unsealed court files shed more light on a contentious leak investigation.

CNN’s Starr An Unlikely Target In DOJ Probe

Regular CNN viewers know Barbara Starr as the network’s veteran Pentagon reporter, a straight-shooting correspondent who delivers periodic news reports on topics like NATO, counterterrorism efforts, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it was striking when Starr was revealed last month as one of the journalists whose email and phone records were secretly seized by the Justice Department amid a Trump administration push to discover who was providing classified information to journalists.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Garland Confronts Long-Building Crisis Over Leak Inquiries And Journalism

Government leak hunters have been ratcheting up pressure on the ability of journalists to do their jobs for a generation — a push fueled by changing technology and fraught national-security issues that arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, those tensions have reached an inflection point.

CNN Lawyers Gagged In Fight With Justice Dept. Over Reporter’s Email Data

The disclosure of the aggressive leak investigation tactic followed a similar revelation involving The New York Times.

WaPo Publisher Slams ‘Unprecedented Assault’ On Media By Biden DOJ

DOJ Ends Pursuit Of Media Sources

The Justice Department on Saturday announced that it will no longer use subpoenas or other legal methods to obtain information from journalists about their sources — a major policy shift that came just a day after the New York Times revealed that the department had prohibited the newspaper’s lawyers and executives from disclosing an effort to seize email records of four reporters.

Trump Justice Dept. Seized Phone Records Of 4 New York Times Reporters

It is the third instance over the last month in which a news media organization has disclosed that federal authorities seized the records of its journalists in an effort to identify sources for national security stories published during President Donald Trump’s administration.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Biden Vacancies Delay Big Tech Reckoning

President Biden still hasn’t named permanent leaders at the key agencies overseeing the tech and telecom industries, giving him a late start on confronting powerful U.S. companies. If Biden doesn’t move quickly, there won’t be enough time left for his administration to take on big targets and tackle thorny policy problems.

Trump Justice Department Seized CNN Reporter’s Phone Records

“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a statement published by the network. “We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.”

Washington Post Says US Secretly Obtained Reporters’ Records

The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of three Washington Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the newspaper said Friday.

Justice Sides With YouTube Over Section 230

Siding with YouTube, the Biden administration is urging a federal judge to reject an attempt by video creators to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The administration’s move comes in a lawsuit by Kimberly Carleste Newman and other content creators who say YouTube wrongly restricted and de-monetized videos with titles like “black lives matter,” “racism,” and “white supremacy.”

Merrick Garland Pledges Strong Antitrust Enforcement

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland said Monday that he will be a strong enforcer of antitrust law as “the charter of American economic liberty” and expects to need more resources to do so. He was testifying at his Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing.

DOJ Settles First Amendment Suit Over White House Press Access

DOJ’s Delrahim Proposes Public-Private Big Tech Regulatory Agency

Department of Justice Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim said that if the government does not find a way to harness the massive market power of those platforms to democratic policies, the country risks “devastating outcomes for our civil democratic society.” He suggested one solution could be a new “public-private” agency, the Digital Markets Rulemaking Board, with the power to regulate edge providers like social media sites.

DOJ: More Study Is Needed Of The ASCAP And BMI Consent Decrees

The Justice Department says there needs to be further review of two music licensing consent decrees that allow music users to secure a blanket license for rights rather than having to negotiate individually for them. That is according to Justice Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim in remarks at a Vanderbilt University Law School virtual event, “The Music Industry and Antitrust Law.” He said there remain issues that still need to be worked out.

US Appeals Order Blocking TikTok Restrictions

The U.S. government on Monday appealed a federal judge’s order that blocked the Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok that would have effectively barred its use in the United States.

Google Rejects DOJ Antitrust Claims In Court Filing

Google is pushing back in court this week on antitrust claims brought against it by the Justice Department two months ago. In a legal filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Google denied or partially rejected almost 200 specific complaints against it. On only one count, that Google was a “founded […]

US, States Bring Antitrust Action Against Facebook

The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Dish Fined $210M For Telemarketing Violations

The satellite provider will pay a historic civil penalty that tops the total penalties paid to the government by all prior violators of the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.

DOJ Investigating Penske Media’s Purchase Of The Hollywood Reporter

White House Fights To Reinstate WeChat Ban

An injunction that blocks the government from enforcing a ban on WeChat downloads “improperly hampers” efforts to combat foreign spying, the U.S. Department of Justice argues in new papers filed late last week with a federal appellate court.

Judge Sets November Deadline For Google’s Initial Response To U.S. Antitrust Case

Judge Sets Nov. Deadlines For U.S. Antitrust Case Against Google

Alphabet’s Google must tell a district court how it will respond to a federal antitrust lawsuit by mid-November, with the two sides making initial disclosures later in the month, U.S. Judge Amit Mehta said in a brief order on Friday. The U.S. Justice Department sued Google on Oct. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.

Forget Antitrust Laws. To Limit Tech, Some Say A New Regulator Is Needed

Even as the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Google on Tuesday for unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in search and search advertising, a growing number of legal experts and economists have started questioning whether traditional antitrust is up to the task of addressing the competitive concerns raised by today’s digital behemoths. Further help, they said, is needed.

Justice Files Landmark Antitrust Case Against Google

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

DOJ Shoots Down DirecTV-Dish Merger Again

Charlie Ergen’s dream of merging his Dish Network with AT&T’s DirecTV has been squashed by the Department of Justice — yet again. Regulators with the DOJ’s antitrust division recently informed executives of AT&T that a marriage between DirecTV and Dish would likely have to wait until faster 5G wireless service is more widely available in rural markets, two sourc­es close to the situation said.

Feds May Target Google Chrome For Breakup

Prosecutors for the Justice Department and state attorney general offices are discussing ways of curbing the search giant’s market power as they prepare to sue the company.

U.S. Appeals Injunction Against TikTok Ban

The federal government on Thursday appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on TikTok, the viral video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

FTC, DOJ Propose Changes To Antitrust Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are seeking comment on a couple of proposed changes to the automatic Hart Scott Rodino (HSR) antitrust reviews, which are required of large mergers (ones valued at at least $94 million). The FTC and DOJ divide up antitrust reviews, with DOJ generally handling the media merger reviews.

US Bans WeChat, TikTok From App Stores

The Commerce Department said President Trump’s proposed ban of the apps WeChat and TikTok will go into effect Sunday, Sept. 20, to “safeguard the national security of the United States.” The order follows weeks of dealmaking over the video-sharing service TikTok. President Donald Trump has pressured the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a domestic company to satisfy U.S. concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.

U.S. Orders Al Jazeera Affiliate To Register As Foreign Agent

Justice To File Antitrust Charges Against Google

The Justice Department plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month, after Attorney General William Barr overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case against one of the world’s wealthiest, most formidable technology companies, according to five people briefed on internal department conversations.

Publishers Have Stronger Case Against Google

Publisher complaints about Google have grown more pointed as the Justice Department investigates the search giant for possible anticompetitive practices. The News Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 news organizations in the U.S., last week published a white paper that provides more concrete examples of how Google allegedly interferes with the digital operations of publishers.

O’Rielly Has Issues With DOJ’s Media View

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly told the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday that there continues to be a disconnect between the Department of Justice’s approach to antitrust and the realities of the competitive video marketplace.