FTC Quietly Investigates Amazon 

(PresidentialDaily.org)- In the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has been conducting investigations on Amazon on various fronts. 

Now, reports are coming out that the Biden administration has plans to try to take action in the near future on three of those investigations, at least. 

Since 2019 at least, the FTC has been investigating the possibility that Amazon abused its massive power in the world of online marketplaces. Investigations are also ongoing into whether Amazon breached consumer privacy through its Alexa virtual assistant or its Ring cameras, and why it decided to buy iRobot, a maker of robot vacuum cleaners. 

Any official lawsuit that was brought against Amazon would certainly be considered high profile, to say the least, as it would be taking on one of the largest and most valuable companies in the world. It would also fit into the MO of Rita Khan, the FTC’s chair, who has long been a cynic of big tech companies. 

In fact, in 2017, she wrote an academic paper in which she called out Amazon as being a contemporary monopolist, one that really needs to be regulated better than it currently is. 

Local lawsuits claiming antitrust practices in Washington, D.C., wouldn’t work, as Amazon enjoys some protection in that area. However, there is a federal lawsuit pending against the company in California that could have wide-reaching implications.  

The FTC is also considering if it should contest the $1.7 billion purchase Amazon is making of iRobot, though many lawyers at the FTC have indicated that they are in favor of the deal, as OANN reported recently. 

Even still, insiders have reported that Amazon conducted a few investigations into public privacy in the past – one that has involved its security and camera system known as Ring and one involving its voice assistant known as Alexa. The aim of those, the insiders told OANN, were to address the online privacy of children. 

Khan has said in the past that it’s possible Amazon could’ve violated certain protection laws. The result of investigations into that aspect of the company are expected to be completed and released in the next few months.  

Some officials with the FTC in the past have said that Khan should sue Ring and allege broad breaches of data security and privacy.  

In addition to these investigations, Amazon is also potentially facing lawsuits about its retail operations from an antitrust perspective. It’s possible that some lawsuits could end up being filed in the next few months, depending on the outcome of the probes. 

Specifics of those investigations aren’t clear at this point. Some sources have said it could involve how Amazon has bundled certain services through its subscription service called Amazon Prime, and also how they’ve used data from competitors to outperform other retailers on their online sales platform. 

In essence, there seems to be no aspect of Amazon’s massive and diverse business that the FTC isn’t investigating. In the coming months, the results of these investigations could come to light, with lawsuits potentially being filed.