Business Report: DOJ Hints At Breaking Up Big Tech
KPBS anchor Ebone Monet and SDSU marketing lecturer Miro Copic discuss some of the week’s top business stories.
Q: The big news coming out of the Department of Justice this week: the DOJ announced that it's going to be reviewing the practices of some of the top online platforms. It didn't name names but soon after the shares of Facebook and Amazon went down. Could these online platforms possibly be at risk of being broken up?
A: This is a big development because up to now the Federal Trade Commission has been involved in all kinds of complaints regarding these online platforms. So it's Google, Facebook, Amazon and even Apple is being thrown into the mix. The Justice Department is saying these firms have gotten potentially too large, and they are not doing things on behalf of consumers.
As we know, last week Facebook was fined $5 billion from the FTC, and are requiring Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO, to certify every quarter that there's privacy policies in place that are satisfactory. The reason is Facebook has had some major issues. They've had the Russian ads during the elections that caused a lot of confusion among consumers. The Cambridge Analytical third party apps that are using data from Facebook to do other things. One of their early co-founders, with Mark Zuckerberg, is a guy named Chris Hughes. He's working with two academics who are actually working with the FTC and the Department of Justice building a case for breaking up Facebook; because when Facebook bought WhatsApp and Instagram they took a lot of competitors out of the market. So now Facebook monopolizes all of this, and the question is: is it for the good of the consumer or not?
Q: So next up, California has reached an $18.7 million deal with Equifax. This is in regards to a lawsuit regarding a data breach that dates back to 2017. Which means now there's millions of Californians who could potentially get a payout. How significant is this settlement?
A: It's a huge settlement because actually the whole settlement is worth potentially $700 million, and it covers 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the federal government. So $425 million is going to consumers, of which 15 million consumers in California are affected.
But what this judgment does, is allows you to reclaim the cost of credit monitoring or identity monitoring services. If you did nothing and you want to be able to participate in the settlement, you as a consumer have the right for a free credit report from Equifax for the next seven years.
Q: Some major automakers have agreed to sign an agreement with the state of California to meet higher emission standards. This is despite the Trump administration's efforts to roll back standards. What does this mean for the car consumer?
A: It's a kind of wait and see for the auto consumer right now, but it's huge news for California and the 17 states that are suing the EPA against this rollback of the mile per gallon standard that was set under the Obama administration. The Obama administration said by 2024 the average miles per gallon per car should be 54 mpg. The new standard that was agreed upon between Honda, BMW, VW and Ford is 50 mpg by 2026. The Trump administration has been pushing 37 mpg, because the minute the Trump administration came in a few automakers lobbied to kind of pull that back.
Last thing, California has benefited from this because if you go back in the 80s and the 90s? The number of pollution days in California were 300 out of 365 days a year, because of the new standards California's air is much better.