The concentration of the Internet economy behind the walled gardens of a select few companies has led policymakers across the political spectrum to call for congressional action. However, most legislation proposed thus far takes an overly punitive approach to Big Tech that is unlikely to create the conditions necessary for a truly competitive digital environment. A better way to promote competition in digital markets is by encouraging upstart companies to adversarially interoperate with dominant platforms. Large online platforms have weaponized the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws to ward off nascent competitors, making adversarial interoperability difficult. To open up the digital economy, lawmakers should turn their attention to reforming portions of the CFAA to prevent its abuse. By doing so, Congress would take a significant step toward reopening the Internet.   

By Luke Hogg[1]

 

I. INTRODUCTION

As it emerged from its embryonic phase of government-supported experimentation, the Internet was open and protocol-driven. Looking at new commercial frontiers, upstart companies built radical new technologies and iterated on each other’s successes. This adversarial environment was hyper-competitive in a way that few markets have ever been, and it matured through boom-and-bust cycles. But today, the concentration of the Internet’s tech stack among a few large companies has created a closed ecosystem of walled gardens and points of control, causing

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