Insider Q&A: Antitrust Expert Looks for Strong Enforcement

By New York Times

Sally Hubbard is an antitrust expert, whose central mission is to call attention to the risks of corporate monopolization. Hubbard previously served as an assistant attorney general in the antitrust bureau of New York state.

With the biggest tech companies under government investigation for alleged anti-competitive conduct, her analysis speaks to an issue of growing urgency.

The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Far from being ripped off, many consumers feel they’re getting great deals and free services from the likes of Amazon and Google. So what’s the problem for the consumer?

A: Antitrust doctrine has been weakened in the last 30 years. The case law that’s come out has been heavily influenced by what’s called the Chicago School of Economics. It took antitrust law and made it all about corporate efficiency and low prices instead of what it was supposed to be about: Competition.

But if you look at the antitrust laws, they don’t talk about low prices. There’s no mention of the word “prices” in the antitrust laws. You’re paying with your data. It’s not free. And the amount of data that you’re paying, it’s very hard to see. We don’t even know the ways we’re being tracked. The fact that Google, because it’s the search engine, can direct half of the world’s traffic to its own properties —that’s not fair competition.

Continue Reading…