tv Hearing on Tech Companies Market Concentration Data Collection CSPAN January 7, 2022 9:01am-11:01am EST
democracy. c-span on the go. watch the day's biggest political events on the go, on demand anytime through our mobile video app. c-span now, top highlights, c-span radio, and discover them free. download c-span now today. >> next, a senate subcommittee on the hearing examining competition and privacy in the tech industry. witnesses testify on the growing market concentration of the companies like amazon and the negative effect their size has on consumers and about the data collect and sales of personal information and the need for congress to pass data privacy legislation. this runs two hours.
>> this hearing comes to order. good morning, and welcome to today's subcommittee on fiscal responsibility and growth. i'm pleased to be working with ranking member cassidy on this hearing on promoting competition, growth and privacy protection in the technology sector. senator cassidy will be joining us remotely. we're going to do a mixed hearing with some people in person and some people remote. under president biden's leadership the economy is rebounding. unemployment dropped from a pandemic height 14.8% in april 2020 to 4.6% today. 5.6 million jobs have been added since president biden's inauguration. more than were added in the first 10 months of any administration since we have been keeping records.
child poverty is projected to plummet by more than 40% thanks to the american rescue plan. all of this has occurred despite an ongoing pandemic that has plagued us now for nearly two years. families have tried to adapt and those changes have echoed throughout our economy. demand has shifted as people have consumed fewer services while buying more durable goods like exercise equipment and home appliances. the economy has recovered more quickly than many businesses projected and all of this is contributing to unexpected bottle necks in our supply chain and sporadic shortages at warehouses and these contribute to the price increases for many consumer goods, but they're not the only reason that prices have gone up. sure, giant companies will raise prices when they have to, but they will also raise prices
when they can get away with it and how do we know this? because when companies are simply passing along their increases in costs, then profit margins should stay the same, but when companies see a chance to gouge customers particularly when everyone is talking about inflation, then those companies raise their prices beyond what is needed to cover their increased cost. right now, prices are up at the pump, at the supermarket and on-line at the same time energy companies, grocery companies and on-line retailers are reporting record profits. that's not simply a pandemic issue, it's not simply some inevitable economic force of nature, it's greed and in some cases, it's flatly illegal. one is the fewer and fewer
markets in america are truly competitive. when several businesses are competing for customers, companies can't use a pandemic or a supply chain kink to pad their own profits. in a competitive market the margin above costs stays steady, even in troubled times, but in a market dominated by one or two giants, price gouging is much easier. for generations, policy makers and regulators under both democrats and republicans promoted free market competition, but starting in the 1970's, our government changed course, for decades now regulators and courts have looked the other way even as one sector after another has about many dominated by one or two giants. they rubber stamp merger after merger without regard to the consequences and when small businesses got wiped out and startups were smothered or bought out, they just didn't
care. today, as a result of the increasing consolidation across industries, bigger and bigger corporations have more and more power to charge their customers any price they want. they also wield more and more power to underinvest in things like supply chain resiliency and more and more for wages and benefits for workers. and it's getting worse. earlier this month, federal trade commission chair lena khan noted by september of this year, our anti-trust agencies had received more merger filings than any other year in the previous ddecade. in fact, they're on track in 20211 to receive a 70% increase above average filings in recent years. giant corporations are taking advantage of this global crisis
to gobble up struggling small businesses and to increase their power through predatory mergers. i introduced by pandemic anti-monopoly act to slow down this trend and to protect workers and small businesses and families from being squeezed even more by harmful mergers during this crisis and i will reintroduce it this year because the need is clear. the effects of limited competition in our technology sector are particularly severe and that is why i am interested in exploring today's hearing. limited competition in tech is having spillover effects across our entire economy and anti-competitive practices in the semiconductor industry have exacerbated supply chain issues. big tech has used their dominance to inflate prices throughout the on-line retail market and to subject their
workers to inhumane conditions during the pandemic. and as ranking member cassidy has rightly highlighted in his own work, tech firms collect and exemployed sensitive personal information, often threatening national security, harming our emotional help and discriminating against vulnerable groups. it doesn't have to be like this. with stronger anti-trust laws and enforcement. we can ensure that our economy works for american families not just for the wealthiest corporations. congress could provide better tools for the department of justice for anti-competitive mergers and break up the companies that hold our economy down and make it easier for the agencies to reject such mergers into the first place by promoting competitive markets for consumers and workers, we can foster stronger american economy and a stronger american
democracy. so, i look forward to discussing these issues today. i appreciate all of our witnesses who are joining us, and i look forward to hearing about your insights and experiences. next, i'm going to turn to ranking member kennedy-- cassidy, sorry, senator cassidy, for your opening remarks, senator cassidy. >> senator warren. thank you for being here at the hearing and taking time to testify. senator warren and i have have agreed to a bipartisan hearing promoting competition, growth and privacy protection in the technology sector. i will focus my time on the privacy aspect of this and specifically on the data broker industry. the data broker industry to most americans, practices and techniques are interwoven into
our lives. profile individuals with certain attributes and sell that information to those whom they see fit or whom they wish to purchase. and i am a big fan of football, and searching data on notre dame. and i'm a fan much lsu football and i then receive ads about buying lsu football merchandise and et cetera. we all experienced something similar on the internet. multiple times a year a company will be the victim of a hack that exposes the data of thousands if not millions of customers. and with the cyber incursions, and the entire industry that trance acts with much more detail and personal with sensitive information.
there's little information that data brokers cannot sell. i believe that few in this room would think it a good idea to sell the profiles of american service members and that's what is happening. we should look at what american data we think is okay to be bought and sold without the knowledge of many americans, what type of data we think is acceptable to be bought and sold period. and information from military personnel to be sold to others, or information on domestic abuse victims to be sold to abusers? and how the data is sold and transferred to others. we should have a conversation about all things that our foreign adversaries can do with this data that's why we've
assembled a team of data broker experts to talk about the different aspects of data brokers, what is regulated, what's not and how to move forward. thanks to our witnesses and i'm looking forward to discussing the issue. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it, senator cassidy. so we've got a great set of witnesses here to share their views on promoting competition growth and privacy protections, the american technology sector. i appreciate everyone being with us today. first, joining us virtually we have courtney brown. ms. brown is an amazon fresh worker at the company's fulfillment center in new jersey and a leader with united for respect. she's also a veteran of the united states navy. second, also joining us remotely, we have the honorable carl racine the district of
columbia's first attorneys national association of attorneys general and chair emeritus of the democratic attorneys general association's executive committee. previously, he was a managing partner at venable associates, white house counsel for president clinton and a staff attorney for the public defender service for the district of columbia. third, we have barry lynn, the executive director of the open markets institute, his research focuses on threats of the 21st century monopolies to our democracy, individual liberty, security and prosperity. next, we have justin sherman, co-founder and senior fellow at ethical tech, at duke university, focused on research at the interaction of technology and ethics. mr. sherman studies date yeah brokers and sensitive data that
they hold on u.s. individuals. following mr. sherman, we have sam sax of yale law school's china center and a cyber policy fellow at the think tank, new america. an expert on cross border date a flows and studies how the chinese government collects and uses data. and finally, we have miss stacy gray, senior council at the future privacy forum. she is a data broker expert and her research centers on the intersection of emerging technologies and federal regulation and enforcement. increasing consolidation throughout the american economy undoubtedly contributes to the higher prices, worsening working conditions and privacy concerns. the pandemic has not only exacerbated the issues, but exposed them more plainly.
we can fix this together and we can make our economy work for all americans. i want to thank you all for being with us today. i'm looking forward to hearing your testimony. so, ms. brown. we're going to start with you. you are recognized for five minutes and tell us what you want us to know. >> okay. good morning, everyone. thank you for inviting me to share my experience with you today. senator warren and members of the committee. my name is courtney brown, i live in newark, new jersey. i'm currently working at an amazon fulfillment center and have been for four and a half years. before working the amazon, i served my country in the united states navy and took my commitment i made to my country seriously, as well as the commitment i take seriously now as a member. i'm here about amazon's business model because it's a threat to the working people
and it's a threat to our economy. one out of every 150 american workers is an amazon employee, as well as some employees in there and the multi-billion dollar corpseagos-- corporation grew on the backs. and since the covid-19 pandemic began, an as a process guide i'm 35,000 to 60,000 grocery daily for delivery to homes in new york city and new jersey. and stepping out in negative 10 degrees and picking up and setting packages down with little to no rest. the work i do is supposed to be 30 to 40 people and we operate with 25 or less every day. because our workload has
increased and not less so that we can take turns with breaks and amazon's multi-billion dollar route is made possible by same day delivery anywhere from same day delivery to two-day delivery and the corporation has achieved this and scaled through sheer brutality, timing and punishing associates like me and my co-workers for not working fast enough and allowing associates time off to adequately rest and recover and to prevent burnout. from the moment we pull into the parking lot we're monitored and every step in the facility that we take. if we fall behind in our 11-hour shift we are disciplined or could lose our job.
we can't take regular bathroom breaks and often have to run to and from the bathroom in under two minutes so we don't get in trouble. and on top of that, the bathrooms are usually broken, too. and amazon has twice the injuries and turnover compared to similar jobs and workplace injury rates are higher at amazon facilities with no robot tech and technology. i used to be a trainer and saw firsthand how they would be hired, and only make it to the one or two month work mark and would quit because of injury or exhaustion. and the machines undergo maintenance to make sure they don't burn out. the one time i needed to take off to recover from my mother's passing, i was given two days
to do so. two days to plan a funeral and process my mother's death and so i ended up taking a month off of unpaid time, which was the only option i had at the time. and this unpaid time was only because there was a reduction in the amount of work we had. and my sister, she wasn't as lucky because she also works with me as well. and she had to literally work the day of her death as well as the day after, come to her funeral and then return to work two days later. so her entire funeral was literally scheduled around me and my sister's work schedule. imagine having to do that and they said $75 billion last year thanks to me and my co-workers. amazon's high-tech sweatshop,
causing tendinitis, fascitis and staying here with little to no rest. one time the pain was so severe, and i ended up in the emergency room, because i had to take off an and beg doctors and nurses to see me as quickly as possible. i couldn't afford to leave my job and the opportunity to become leadership. this kind of expectation isn't just happening to me. people have been working through the pandemic nonstop because amazon won't let us take time off. also, we're so exhausted we break down and cry. and a co-workers had to have leave her child early due to not any support when she had to come back work. this is the type that amazon is doing across the country. amazon associates have been
fighting back about this for years. and the amazon expected model. jeff bezos himself recently told that he plans to use more automated control in the workshop. and they're setting up high-tech sweatshops. they're a numbers company. people who look like me that have limited choices and they know we can't afford to complain or refuse bad conditions. amazon takes advantage of this desperation. the pandemic has closed a lot of businesses in the area so usually someone like me would have considered looking for another job, i can't because there are no jobs available or the pay isn't enough to make rent and food on the table. this committee in competition and economics in the tech sectors, where corporations move to maximize profits and ensures all means necessary,
including exploiting workers, and small businesses. and to you to stop places like amazon from ruining our economy and dictating the workers for hundreds of millions of workers like me. i'm asking you to help me put an end to inhumane american workers injured, exhausted and mentally battered each day. our country needs elected officials to side with working people, to side with essential workers not corporations. >> thank you very much, miss brown, i appreciate you coming in and testifying. now we go to attorney general racine. you are recognized for five minutes. >> chairwoman warren, ranking member cassidy and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you so much for the opportunity to testify before you today.
as the first independently elected attorney general of the district of columbia and outgoing today president of the bipartisan association of the national attorneys general bun of my important responsibility is to protect d.c. consumers from corporate wrongdoing, investigating and where appropriate filing suit against defendants that originally exercised power, violate privacy laws, and hurt workers. we've used our power and authority to sue amazon and the local d.c. court for using its overwhelming market power, that is 50 to 70% of all on-line sales occur on amazon's platform to control prices with restrictive agreements with third party sellers that sell on amazon's marketplace and wholesalers that feed amazon's
retail business. amazon claims that everything is business is all about the consumer. well, our investigation revealed otherwise. amazon, indeed, is focused and the evidence is compelling, on one thing. its bottom line. even at the expense of consumers like the ones it claimed to care so much about. in fact, amazon is costing all of us more money by controlling prices across the entire electronic mall. like you, senator warren, i, too, am aist-- a capitalist. and people should profit as their businesses increase, but
when companies like amazon unfairly and unlawfully increase the prices on all of us, stifle competition, and take advantage of consumers, the law must step in and say enough is enough. back in 2019, amazon was facing pressure from congress and regulators over anti-competitive behavior and that the concerns about amazon and other big tech is as bipartisan as it gets. to put regulators at ease, amazon claimed it removed a particular clause in its agreement with third party sellers that prohibited these third party sellers from offering their goods for lower prices or on better term on competing on-line marketplaces, including the third party seller's own websites. again, amazon claimed that it
removed that particular clause, a spoiler alert, amazon deceived congress and consumers with its bait and switch of replacing the initial terms of the agreement with different titles and different words that had the same illegal impact. let me give an example how this works. if i'm a third party seller, selling, for example, head phones. i do want to list on amazon. why? because it reaches so many people. remember, 50 to 70% of the entire electronic mall. in order to do so, i've got to do the following, sell the sed phones at a price on the amazon marketplace that allows me to still earn a reasonable profit after incorporating amazon's very high fees and commissions. then i'm barred from selling my head phones on any other
platform, including my own website, at a lower price, even though i could earn a fair profit by doing so. put another way, i've got to build in the high amazon fees and high amazon commissions into every price of the head phones that i sell. why? because amazon forced me to agree to have to that term in order to access its electronic mall and if they find out that i sell my head phones, even on my own website for a lower price, lower than the built in fees and commissions that amazon requires, guess what? they get kicked off the amazon marketplace and have sanctions, financial sanctions, imposed on me. this leaves third party sellers with two choices. they can sell products on amazon under the extremely restrictive terms that
guarantee profit to amazon and puts third party sellers at risk, or they can offer their market on other marketplaces. but because amazon controls so much of the marketplace, third party sellers have little choice. these agreements impose an artificially high price, as i've explained, all across the on-line retail space. and consumers lose in this game. as a result of amazon's agreements. these agreements, third party sellers could offer products for lower prices and that's one of the basis for our lawsuit. amazon isn't just doing this with third party sellers, they're also doing it with wholesalers as well. we've added that count to our lawsuit. third party sellers, for amazon to resell at retail to consumers. if amazon lowers its resale prices to match or lower on the
competing marketplace, the wholesalers, listen to this, are forced to pay amazon the difference between the agreed upon profit and what amazon realizes with the lowered retail price. this can lead to wholesalers owing amazon millions of dollars. to avoid disagreement, wholesalers have increased the prices on their goods and onto competing on-line marketplaces, in other words, they've agreed to do what amazon wants. that is to charge consumers more for products that they ordinarily would have to pay, but for amazon's illegal agreement. all of these agreements reduce an on-line marketplace's ability to compete with amazon marketplace on price and results in consumers paying artificially high prices. and even outside of this litigation, small businesses, of course, have complained and
complained, that amazon has stolen their business ideas and passed them off as amazon's own. let me give you one example-- >> attorney general, i'm going to have to stop you here in a minute. five minutes for each of our witsdz, but we're going to be able to ask you some questions and i definitely want to hear this. is that okay? >> absolutely, senator, and i'm happy to stop right here. >> thank you so much and i appreciate it. now, mr. lynn, you're recognized for five minutes. >> you need to hit your button. >> chairman warren, ranking member cassidy, members of the subcommittee, thank you foran viting -- for inviting me for in important topic and good to see you today. political economics is the art of governing how people compete with and exercise power over one another.
an essential truth of human society is that competition among people is inevitable. what people can control is whether corporations and markets are structured to promote the liberty and welcome being of the individual, the ability of citizens to make wise decisions, and the security and prosperity of individuals and of the nation. for two centuries, americans were masters of engineering competition policy to an i chief these ends. american citizens used anti-monopoly laws to make them the most equality and free people in the world and prosperous and powerful. beginning four decades ago, americans from four parties altered how we think about and enforce competition policy. rather aimed at remote, prosperity, policy makers embraced a philosophy said that we should aim for efficiency only. the result of that today, americans face the gravest set of domestic threats to liberty
and democracy since the civil war. today, in america, as courtney made clear, monopolies drive down the people's raises while driving up the prices that people must a pay. monopolieses threaten the freedom of expression and spy on citizens and use the people's own secrets to misinform, and use those citizens for profits and steal other people's businesses and destroy better technologies and ideas. and destroy vital industrial capacity as last we are we saw that this with face masks and this year, and depend on powerful foreign states and strip of opportunity, independence, security and hope. none of this is new. i myself first warned how the platform monopolieses threatened freedom of
expression more than 11 years ago and warned of dangers of supply chain concentration, 19 years ago. and the good news, americans are looking at and this americans want to see monopolists stripped of power and legislators are on the move. justice department and sec brought against google and amazon and attorneys general from 49 states, puerto rico, washington d.c. and guam launched investigations of google and facebook and filed three additional lawsuits. then there are the smart and urgent efforts to strengthen anti-trust laws here in the senate. as with senator warren's proposal in the house, and in europe and around the world. perhaps most important, president biden has personally condemned the pro monopoly
saying school consumer welfare philosophy of robert bourke and richard posner and focus on protecting the american people from dangerous concentrations of power and control. and lena khan and cantor, president biden appointed law enforcement smart enough and strong enough to get the job done. today's hearing marks an especially point forward in this great struggle, the pressing need for competition policy is much more than mere anti-trust law and rather, a combination of anti-trust and trade policy. corporate governance, wall street governance and strategy. and addressing america's twin supply chain crisis. and that's why it focuses on what lessons we can learn in the role played, concentrating on risk and power in production
and transportation system such as with semiconductors. and i detail how we can rebuild our industrial system in ways that make us truly safe while also breaking inflation and boosting wages. our opportunity today is not merely to pre build what the mon noplists have broken the last 40 years, how to imagine and make an america far more democratic, just, and forward looking than any of us managed in a generation. >> thank you very much, mr. lynn. appreciate it. mr. sherman, you're recognized for five minutes. >> chair warren, thank you for the opportunity to testify about privacy issues facing american citizens. i'm a seller with tubing university sanford school of public policy and a leader
researched focused on the data brokerage eco system. multi-million dollar virtually unregulated, selling americans personnel data on the open market. they're profiting off the vulnerability and insecurity of the u.s. and its citizens. while comprehensive consumer privacy law is vital. congress need not wait to resolve this debate. today i'll make three points. congress school districtly control the sale of data to foreign companies, citizens and governments, strictly control the data of sensitive categories like genetic and health and data and stop companies from circumventing those controls by infearing data. all research at duke university found them widely looking at data on hundreds of millions of americans and sensitive
demographic information and political preferences and beliefs and whereabouts in real-time locations as well as data on first responders, students, government employees and current and former members of the u.s. military. data brokers can track and sell your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, income level, how you vote, what you buy, what you search on-line and where your kids and grandkids go to school. this harms every american, particularly the most vulnerable and i'll focus on three examples. data brokers advertise data on millions of current and former military personnel and criminals bought this data to scam data and veterans and families because of the military berths they get from the federal government. foreign states could acquire this data to profile military personnel, track them and their families and undermine national security. the china's government 2015
hack of the office of personal management is one of the worst breaches the federal government can suffer. no need for the chinese government or foreign intelligence agencies to hack the data bases when they can be bought legally on the open market from u.s. companies. data brokers known as people search websites aggregate millions of americans' public records and make them available for search and sale on-line. abusive individuals have used this data, including highly sensitive information on individual's addresses, whereabouts and family members, to hunt down and stalk, harass, intimidate and even murder other people, predominantly women and members of the lgbtq plus community. there's little in u.s. law stopping data brokers from collecting, publishing on victims and survivors of intimate partner violence. data brokers also advertise data on millions of american's mental health conditions and can legally purchase from other
firms and use it to exploit consumers. criminals already scam senior citizens using data broker data. they can similarly buy data on seniors and dementia to steal away life savings. foreign governments could acquire this for intelligence purposes. our research is these companies selling data on hundreds of millions of americans do little due diligence, know your customers. and if they do it's needs to be stronger in practice. sign nondisclosure agreements saying where they obtained the u.s. information. and the u.s. civil rights, u.s. national security and democracy, we must focus on this system. there are three steps congress can take now. first, strictly control the sale of data broker data to foreign companies, citizens and governments, which currently
can entirely and legally buy u.s. data directly through front companies. second, strictly control and consider outright bans on the sale of data and sensitive categories like health information and location data used now to follow, stalk and harm individuals. third, stop companies from circumventing controls using algorithms and other techniques to predict things they have not technically collected. congress can and should act now to regulate the data broker system, effects of civil rights and national security. thank you. >> thank you, mr. sherman. and now, miss sax, you're recognized for five minutes. >> ranking member cassidy and members of the subcommittee. it's an honor to testify. i'm a senior fellow at yale and policy fellow at new america,
spent the last decade of china's policies both in the national security community and with the private sector. i also advise corporations on china's tech policies. so i will focus my testimony on china and global passport data flows. while my expertise focuses on china and the chinese government's efforts to acquire data. my view is that the most effective solutions require that the united states put forward a more comprehensive data governance vision with stronger protections for security and privacy for all companies. some of these risks are specific to china, but so much of this is much bigger. u.s. lawmakers have an opportunity to address trans national security threats, but while also advancing a more secure, ethical and democratic internet in its own right. the chinese government has embarked on an ambitious
national data strategy with the goal of acquiring, controlling and unlocking the value of data. my written testimony submitted for the record has more details on the recent plans and direct yifs that signal the centralization of chinese state power of information flows within and beyond china's borders. the chinese leadership seeks to control data as both a strategic and an economic asset. they're concerning national security risks and they're presumed to have sensitive national security information from the theft of personal records of roughly 20 million individuals of the personal management. if that location, health and social media data were to be acquired on the open data market and combined with what beijing already has, chinese could target individuals in sensitive government national security positions and the military for manipulation, coercion, and blackmail, and
this is particularly concerning from the counter intelligence perspective. as chinese on-line services and network infrastructure grow in pre dominance around the world, it is possible that the chinese government could use this position to monitor data processes abroad just as the united states had done as shown by snowden, in utilizing data transmissions across u.s. intelligence networks. we simply do not know what value and harm data created now will hold in the future. but we must grapple with the implications of gaining information enclosed beyond chinese's closed internet system. i have the following recommendations, first analogy of data as the new oil is false and leads to bad policy. it assumes that data is a finite state reforce and as such efforts by beijing and
washington to hoard data from each other will lessen national power not increase it. instead congress should mandates stronger cyber security protections and basic standards for what data can be collected and retained in a comprehensive federal privacy law to protect sensitive american data not just from sophisticated state mackers, but also from the unregulated industry of data brokers around the world, trading in consumer data without transparency or controls, while comprehensive federal privacy slowly amid much debate, having baseline for the data broker industry would close off a prime target for exploitation now. currently, there is nothing in our regulatory structure that would prevent the chinese government from buying american citizen's data. that's why bans on chinese software application won't make us more secure or safe. even if tik tok were an
american owned company it could still legally buy that data on the open market. given this, american data is shockingly exposed and will remain that way as long as restrictions on data flows only focused on specific companies deemed adversaries. the united states should work with like-minded governments to develop a common set of standards and safeguards, perhaps building off the initiative put forward by the chinese-- not the chinese, the japanese government with data flows with trust and i have some more specific recommendations in my written testimony. in conclusion, an action by the united states in offering affirmative, compelling vision of u.s. data governance in its own right will only make the united states less secure, less prosperous, less powerful and allow space for chinese companies controlled by the ccp to flourish. thank you. >> thank you very much, miss
sacks. and now, recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairwoman, ranking member cassidy and recommends of the community for the opportunity to testify today. in u.s. law and public policy relate today emerging technology and privacy information and specifically i've been asked to speak on the topic of data brokers. privacy advocates and the federal trade commissions and members of other committees long called for greater transparency and accountable in the data broker industry and regulation is long overdue. many of the most influential reports published almost a decade ago have influenced the debate and since then, much has changed. there have been significant advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. and adoption of technology, universal with most adults owning smartphones and many
families owning additional devices. and the legislative landscape has largely not kept up. since 2018, california and two other states have passed consumer privacy laws and three states established limited data broker, and transparency through the data broker registries, while others such as the california privacy rights act codify broader consumer rights out of the sharing of data. much more work needs to be done. i'd like to make two points regarding data brokers and then give recommendations. the first point is defining the term data broker has been an ongoing challenge because it encampuses a broad spectrum of business activities. and the leading information, the consumer with whom the business does not have a direct relationship. many hundreds of businesses fall under this definition and use data for a wide range of purposes that include many of
the uses my fellow witness, mr. sherman, pointed out. including in advertising, fraud detection, risk scoring, some of these activities directly benefit consumers such as the use of data to protect a bank account against fraudulent activity and others primarily benefit, purchasers or users of data such as advertisers with furor little or known companies to for individuals owe society. the heart of concerns around privacy fairness and accountability, but presents one of the greatest challenges, for crafting data privacy regulation and i'll briefly explain why. think business with a consumer relationship, restaurant, hotel, retailers, even a social media can collect large amounts of personal information for u.s. consumers today directly or by purchasing it and in some
cases, enormous influence on market power as we've heard. however, there's still some degree of accountability to users aware that the companies exist and can delete accounts or raise alarms. in contrast, a business lacking a relationship with consumers typically does not have the same reputational interests, incentives, in some cases, legal requirements for the data and protect against misuse. however, a lack of consumer relationships also means that businesses engaged even in legitimate data processing are official data processing cannot rely on historical notice and choice. and meaningful affirmative consents, or opting in, might be possible to obtain for use cases, while opting out, after the fact, tends to be both a safeguard and in practical for most consumers to navigate.
we know that consumers can be with choices or assess future risks or secondary uses. what does it mean? first and foremost, there should be comprehensive clearing rules for data brokers and process information from u.s. consumers, it should address the gaps in the sectoral and rely not solely on consumer choice and should codify clear limits on collection of data and apply accountability measures, transparency, risk assessment. limitations on sensitive data and retention. there are a number of steps congress can take relative to risks relative to data brokers, including the trade commission to use unfair and accepted trait practices and establishment of a privacy bureau.
limited the ability of law enforcement agency to purchase information from data brokers and acting sectoral for high risk technology such as biometrics or facial recognition or updating federal laws, fair reporting act to cover emerging uses of data. thank you, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, ms. gray. i appreciate all of your testimony here and now i recognize senator whitehouse for five minutes of question. >> thank you very much, chairman warren, i appreciate it. i'm delighted to have these terrific witnesses here. facebook and google have been profiting off some of the worst propagators of climate denial, and digital hate 10 fringe
sites that fuel 10% of climate disinformation on facebook. and they could focus that if it's only 10. and google makes millions from google ads running it along sites that are legitimate. mr. lynn, can you talk how our eco information suffers when a handful of companies control what people see and how they perceive reality, what a communications monopoly means in a world in which there is so much deliberate climate denial propagated by industry? >> thank you, senator. it's a fundamentally important issue. what we see today, one would answer the question is to understand that google and facebook today are-- these are the communications corporations of the 21st
century. these are the at&t's and the western union's of the 21st century. at&t and western union, they did not-- they were prohibited by law by manipulating how people spoke to one another. google and facebook, their business model is based on manipulation. the reason they take in the data is to in order to manipulate you. they're massive manipulation machines. the way they make their money is by renting out the manipulation machines and calling that the money they receive. they call it advertising. so what we have is in the midst of our society. rather than networks that connect people and empower people to speak with one another and interact with one another. we have machines that are designed to sort of set people into conflict with one another, feed them false information, to determine, you know, how people vote and what we have--
>> so they're ready, willing and able tools for false information propagators? >> when they were established, i think the idea was that these systems would be used by procter & gamble to sell soap and tide. what they're now-- what they now do, however, they rent themselves out to vladimir putin, to climate deniers, to the chinese communist party, you know, whoever comes along. >> let me switch to the data that you're talking about that they have gathered and ask the witnesses who spoke about data privacy and data brokers. what does somebody listening to this hearing need to know about what companies know about them, what data brokers can extract from what companies know about them to sell and to what extent that information can be
individualized back to them potentially by foreign bad actors, foreign governments? >> the microphone, go ahead. >> data brokers know pretty much about every american. where you work, where your kids go to school, how much money you make, race, religion, sexual orientation and their entire business model is that they can target this to individual. they sell this data. they offer advertising, like mentioned, for the purposes of targeting specific individuals and so these profiles are out there on the open market for sale. >> if you're running a psychological warfare operation involving american public officials or american ceo's or various kinds of decision makers in american society, how valuable a tool would that be if you were a foreign government to be able to look into people's lives and understand not only what you
directly know, but what conclusions you can realistically draw about what their shopping habits are and so forth. >> incredibly valuable for that actor. you can buy data bases what people search on-line, how they vote, what they think. so it's out there on the open market. >> my time is up. thank you, chair warren. if i could, i'd just add one question for the record so as not to take up too much time, but one of the things we hear in the finance committee a lot, our chairman has joined us, chairman wyden and he's very active on this subject, if we make big american companies pay a fair share in taxes, that will make them anti-uncompetitive against foreign big companies, and that's the argument our republican friends always make. what they ignore is that when
big american companies don't pay a fair tax burden, that gives them competitive advantage over smaller american companies. and obviously, that plays out in this tech world because you have apple and google, who have come up with, what do they call them, the double irish and the dutch sandwich and all of the peculiar tax tricks to avoid paying their fair share. i'd be interested in your view in writing, because my time expired, how that have competitive disadvantage against them and competitive advantage in the u.s. and to what extent that locks in some of their monopoliesic power because they don't have to pay taxes, but smaller competitors
have to. thank you and appreciate that in writing. >> thank you, senator whitehouse for that thoughtful question. senator cassidy, i think you're up. >> thank you, madam chair, thank you all for testifying. pearl harbor day and our country has come to the day, but also to honor servicemen, women and others in the services, et cetera, that often protect us, and the-- other services to, including the benefits to help these folks who offered so much. i'm struck when you speak about how a data broker can sell personal information off an active military personnel, i assume is a veteran as well, to allow a company to basically --
[inaudible] how and where. how does someone get such information, what's the price of one military profile and is it safe to say that companies are getting rich off of using this data to trick our service folks into giving their berths over to the company, marginal benefits for service personnel and the veterans and benefits for the company and the taxpayers gets ripped off? i've got at least three questions in there. >> data brokers are absolutely profiting off the vulnerability and insecurity of the u.s. and its citizens that includes veterans, that includes members of the military. i don't have a figure in front of me for the cost of one of those profiles though i can follow up on that, but i can say it's very, very easy to see
the information on-line and purchase it. our research schaas shown, offering this data, whether it's military personnel, low income individuals, whatever it is, do not do much customer vetting, they're basically willing to sell to most entities with a paycheck and an e-mail address, with a check and e-mail address. ... >> how do they know somebody from the military? >> because it's very easy for these companies to put pieces of information together to figure out how you are. much like they might track where you go during the day and what you spend to figure out how much money you and your household make, they might look at where you travel to figure out if you're in the military.
>> with location data indicate i was on base. with an occasional deployment in a military zone or are they buying the location data from others? >> likely both. many companies collect this data directly from people whether you're working on the hill or in the military or even in intelligence agency and also by the data from other companies. >> let me toss this out. it occurred to me we had hipaa's penalties if i'm a physician and revealed someone was hiv-positive. what you specified that the mental illness is well known. if you have location data they
show somebody goes to work every day in the place known to be a a mental health clinic for an hiv clinic. a treatment clinic, that the person was probably employed there. if they go every two weeks early month, they can infer the patient either has hiv or mental health or some other illness but those are in the clinics. they can and for this. is this a correct guess how this is all done and they violate certainly the spirit seems actually the letter of the hipaa regulations, mr. sherman, and i'll ask the other. >> that's exactly the problem with data brokers, senator. they can basically dance around the very few very limited privacy laws we dohe have by pry data run algorithm alt information anyway.
>> they can infer even if they are not correct. >> that's correct. >> and -- [inaudible] >> yes, they do that. >> as a physician that greatly offends me because the idea that we can infer that which is otherwise restricted is, again it violates that which i had in my dna as a physician in terms of protecting patient privacy. >> this is one of the major problems that needs to be addressed through privacy regulation because data collected increasingly through apps, wearable devices andgl fitness devices and devices like
bicycles and electric vehicles can all lead to the types of information sharing you are describing. some of it when his directed, directly collected from consumers and somee of it is inferred through large data fence. >> your answer implied that my car which is connected to the internet theoretically could at least have an app that could theoretically at least download the information from a car which is sort of a smart car although i don't know why would you have to if you just in app on somebody's cell phone. is that true? >> all of that is true. much of the commercial location data is out in the industry come some for mobile apps, some from cars is tied to device ids, for example. some of it it is from apps when it claims to measure things like
driving behavior and all of that information is very valuable for a number of purposes. >> i yield back, madam chair. >> thank thank you very mucr cassidy. senator wyden. >> thank you, senator warren and want to thank you and senator cassidy for getting>> into these issues. senator cassidy just mentioned a modern car. the modern car is a computer on wheels, and i have been investigating now for years as chairman of this committee the sleazy, unregulated world of these data brokers and several instances blew the whistle on government agencies that were too eager consumers for this information and we pushed apple and google too finally get some of the sleaziest data brokers out of their stores and businesses.
businesses. and i'm glad we are making progress but we have a lot more to do and i want to start with you. and then important point with how foreign governments to run disinformation campaigns and identify undercover government personnel, and government employees. and i have been working on legislation for some time now to deal with the bill to be introduced shortly. you agree congress should enact legislation to strictly limit the exports of america's personal data to high risk for nations and companies to address which is a demonstrable national security threat? >> there is a huge national security threat and congress needs to control the sale of
data for those as you reference it is all too easy to get that on the open market. >> we have also been looking at the whole issue of how the us government agencies bypass the courts by buying america's data through data brokers. introducing bipartisan legislation the fourth amendment is not for sale. do you agree the government exploitation loopholes is a serious problem? do you agree that congress ought to close the polls by passing legislation quick. >> absolutely. the fourth amendment is not for sale. >> tell us how this connects with privacy issues.
i have also introduced another piece of legislation. the mind your own business act. and that becomes law and mr. zuckerberg would have already faced major sanctions for behavior connected to privacy violations. how does the whole area connect with privacy because on the finance committee we are increasingly looking at privacy issues. for example, we feel very strongly that wealthy tax cheats right now are as likely to be audited by the government to be hit by a meteor. we have to do more to root out corruption. but we can do in a way that is consistent with protecting people's privacy. i am a privacy hawk i will put credentials up against anybody in the united states senate. tell us how this connects with the broader expanse to protect people's privacy.
>> one is the sheer scale and volume that is becoming increasingly untenable of the law enforcement and national security and commercial collection and use of data that originates for a particular purpose and with that being used for secondary purposes by a government agency. >> and that privacy is a massive economic and national security issue. >> and with those economics and national security and privacy are directly linked. thank you to all of you for your good work senator warren
has been a long time leader is making sure that we hold these major economic forces in our country and holding them accountable. by the way i was just in oregon and people are asking me about these issues. being successful and ensuring there is accountability are not mutually exclusive. we can do both. of course we want our businesses to do well. of course we want them to be profitable. but they can also be accountable of key american values of protecting people's privacy. we want everybody to know we are so please senator warren is giving us this chance this unregulated data brokers to put them on notice today and tell there are serious consumer protections with those other measures to be accountability. thank you.
>> thank you to senator wyden and for your long time leadership in this area. this is how we will make change. thank you. thank you for all you have done. talking about another aspect from the issues we have raised today when congress passed the first 80 trust laws to protect local businesses and to protect democracy from powerful corporations to undermine competition and crush workers and gouge consumers. starting in the seventies the government reversed course. corporate ceos and lobbyists push the idea that corporate behemoth is good. congress uses complicated models to say if we just let big corporations get even bigger, they would be more efficient, lower prices and they would compete better on the world stage. unfortunately too often that
is not what happens. take the semi conductor industry for example. hedge fund managers took over the biggest chip manufacturer intel. it grew its market size to the dominant position through anti- competitive and predatory practices. and then with the competition and then to weaken the fundamentals with impunity. and from 2001 through 2010 instead of spending more money on innovation, remember we are talking about the semi conductor industry come and spend the on —- instead of spending more information on ideas or more efficient manufacturing here in the united states, manager spent $48 billion on stock buyback while they have hollowed out a
once great company. so you know a lot about the semi conductor industry. did consolidation, particularly the growth with intel lead to greater efficiency? >> no senator. the opposite. >> did it at least make intel a stronger competitor on the world stage? >> the opposite. >> so in your assessment, what exactly did happen as a result of intel's growing dominance in its field? >> first, you measure $48 billion paid out between 2001 and 2010. that allow them to pay out much more between 2010 and 2020. actually $130 billion over the last ten years.
so this corporation grew much faster but this results in higher prices it results in more power over workers and not just those on the assembly line but also the engineers. these are the people that we count on to develop a better future and we have concentrated power. we see less innovation and with this extreme concentration of capacity we are seeing and with all that eggs in one basket and then to dismiss as fragile and catastrophic failure. you have a system that has other powerful countries like
china, power over the people that depend on capacity by threatening to disrupt shipments in taiwan. leads to massive shortages the structural shortages that we see leading to the shutdown of assembly lines. all around the world. not just america but 50 percent decline of production of cars. we see toyota 40 percent decline of production in q3. this equals vastly higher prices for newer cars vastly higher for used cars vastly higher for rental cars because we cannot replace them with newer or cleaner cars. >> consolidation clearly does not strengthen the semi conductor industry but consolidation or lack of competitors in this field.
so to create the supply chain crisis. and now as you rightly point out with the semi conductor chips other manufacturers like auto companies cannot meet demand at the same time the orders are stacking up because they cannot get the chips. and what has been managed from the same executives that exacerbated the crisis by failing properly to invest in their operations and infrastructure asking congress to bail them out to make the investments they should've been making years ago. excessive concentration is a real problem. is also a problem with the domestic logistics and supply chain operations and it applies obviously to date tech
firms. but amazon has grown bigger and bigger and profit to skyrocket. have the logistical operations improved? and especially with the covid crisis? can you speak to that? >> but it's all about pushing out and it used to be about the quality of giving the customers. they don't care how the workers are trained but is just about quantity.
and then sending out a lot of food and everything. it's really frustrating because we are at our limits so they preach the customer obsession but for the hardest working people and workers cannot do their jobs well because that is the bottom line. and if you attempt to try and that customer obsession than they're actually terminated. >> . >> amazons profit had exploded
during the pandemic even though the deliveries have been significantly delayed and services in a competitive marketplace amazons rivals could compete on these factors providing a reliable service but there is no competition consumers get higher prices and worse services while amazon gets even richer. markets can produce lower prices markets can produce more robust supply chains but only if there is competition when giants are allowed to dominate an industry everyone else is. >> i have a series of
and while it has been lessons the fact remains that persistence and precise location information over time it is very straightforward to go back to an individual person because those limits are unique over time. so that is one of the unique challenges specific to the industry. >> some i.e. keep peers about to die you get a tour of my kitchen. [laughter] but what is the difference between the data and how do i asked them in suppression.
>> sure. so suppression is an industry term that is frequently used for the purposes of describing when a company has a list of individuals of consumers or individuals or devices for the purpose of excluding devices from products and services but not necessarily deleting the underlying data. there can be a range of reasons to do that. one of those for example is to have the art about request that are required with the emerging privacy laws. for example to automatically collect large amounts of information from public records and then to request data from individuals and release that data and then continue to delete in the
future unless they retain limited suppression. >> and in using the suppression to mark this. so that data is suppressed and eliminated. >> it just depends on the use case with marketing and advertising. and those to exclude certain segments from those advertisements with the loss of the child. or the loss of pregnancy what they used to exclude those households from that marketing for baby products.
so it depends on the use and there is risk associated with those more sensitive categories just by the maintenance of the suppression. >> frankly with that legislation and in that no wants so it actually sounds like as you suggest to be negative as well so this is another new ones and in the written testimony with the fact that this can be helpful so if you wish to look at an example using location data to establish at a conference in which covid was known to have
affected people and therefore you can't do that so give you this location data were everybody would go back to and that where people have come from from the northwest and the northeast and then clearly with that data in another sense and the using the data appropriately and then i should take this route or another? that is being used nefariously. >> you are right to point out. and there is large commercial data sets and with members of the industry to provide to
help assist public health efforts so one of the nuances here is that when we talked about information practices and privacy there are increasing concerns around the fact the data is collected in the first place whether for good or beneficial purposes that most should not be on but then for a particular service and then not to be reused for a secondary or incompatible purpose and what commercial research is technically incompatible because that is not the reason the data was
provided so with those nuanced exemptions that sensitivity data to groups and society are all part of regulation. >> and that cannot be disputed it with that period legislation to take information from those who are stakeholders and academics to analyze to try to get that down. >> thank you senator cassidy. so as the attorney general pointed out amazon controls between 50 and 70 percent of the 430 billion-dollar market online for consumer goods. prices for everything from
mattresses to motor oil are going up and why is that happening? and huge part of that market dominance to squeeze more dollars and the third-party sellers so one of the witnesses file the lawsuit for this very reason and a particular focus is the impact that amazon calls fair pricing policy and then to follow up on the example on this policy so if i make earphones and sell them on the website i just want to make sure we are clear if i want to sell them on amazon to access a huge
marketplace online and extend the reach come i have to pay amazon fees and agreed to their terms. my understanding is so thanks to these fees i have to increase my prices to ensure i can still turn a profit. so now i have to charge $130. but the worst part is and i have to have be charged on my own website and every other platform where i am trying to sell my headphones. these inflated prices for american consumers. so attorney general, to go back over the example that you talked about you also
mentioned how amazon forces wholesalers to pay more as well. so where do they say that with wholesalers as well? >> you are exactly right. that is no surprise to me. with respect amazon forces to reach an agreement in regards to what the price will be. here is the deal. if amazon lowers the retail prices then the wholesaler is the difference upon the agreed-upon profit that they
products. and that's why we are suing them. >> in a typical collusion case like price-fixing and then they agreed to charge higher prices? and when they get caught they can go to jail under federal law. that accomplishes everything. and the higher fees are inflating prices on its own platform as well as in stores and other websites through the anti- competitive contract positions with third-party sellers and then the prices go up for millions of americans and they can't see it because nobody does price comparison to see what is happening.
that is the same with a everywhere they go in it shows up as inflation. >> but this will make your point. so between 2014 and 2020 amazon. and amazon is estimated $121 billion in fees and they are doing this to be extremely profitable. they don't care that consumers are paying far too much for goods but this is focusing
100 percent on consumers. and then to utilize the market power to extract every bit of profit that they can. >> so the question is obviously how do we get away with this ask we would like you to focus on how amazon's dominant market position contributes to this power felt throughout the economy? >> i think the example that i gave and that you accentuated frankly and made better is the best example and that is what amazon does it artificially built as commissions.
but no one not even you or me can sell for cheaper that we were forced to agree to sell that. if we don't engage in that agreement it's up to 70 percent of the marketplace it only leads to the tollbooth the tollbooth keeper can raise the prices and us the driver has no choice but to pay whatever they are asking if you're trying to go down that road. we appreciate the work that we
look forward to helping with that legislation. >> i very much appreciate that because i appreciate your point between 50 and 70 percent of those that they already own but yet he keeps growing been not just by sales because they keep continuing to acquire. back in may and propose the acquisition of mgm studios to be eight.$45 billion deal. i will letter to the ftc commissioner asking them to review the deal and to evaluate with workers and prices in other markets in the amazon ecosystem if they wanted to oppose the huge merger it would be a challenge to successfully block at.
everything we've heard from the attorney general so can you say why that is? >> yes. thank you senator. first it will be very expensive in time for our limited staff to go up against the richest corporation in the world. wrench after wrench after ranch it is also very expensive in terms of the expertise they have to pay for economic expertise and put millions and millions of dollars often into the kitty and even with president biden's renunciation of the consumer welfare philosophy
the consumer welfare philosophy to focus on efficiency continues to shape how the judiciary will look at this issue and they have to be ready with this expertise the third reason it is very difficult to communicate with judges in a stylized language of consumer welfare and efficiency this is the issue of power and democracy and human liberty and we have to talked about this in terms of efficiency so judges are trained to use common sense to enforce the law and when you use consumer welfare framing you are speaking and nonsense. >> president biden has experts to lead the antitrust efforts at the ftc and tmj. we believe and competition and
all have strong cases that congress needs to do its part to make sure they have the resources and that they have the tools to wage these battles. otherwise we will see companies like amazon with all the crisis of the day we are dealing with. it's important we step up on our side to. back to you. >> so the question is for you. so first the testimony speaks of the need to have a comprehensive arrangement between countries if you will
if we take the eu as a block in order to have some sort of an agreement. >> and the reason i say this is i have been told that the geo data protection regulation in the eu risk making the eu a digital colony through china it is so restrictive that the big data sets that are required to enhance research with a high are almost impossible to construct i don't know if that is true but nonetheless that is what i'm told. so there is something here. how do we allow those data sets required for ai to be
constructed? and how do we have a governance that would exclude china with the espionage as a bad actor and then have the fruits of this and then you mention specifically the japanese with the trust paradigm so i think i'm giving you the wrong direction and i will turn it back to you. >> thank you senator cassidy. a few key points is that the us security and prosperity relies on access to large international data sets. that tied with other areas, this has a new wants how do we allow global old dataflow of home and international?
and a big important step here is making sure we have her own house in order first the trans-atlantic dataflow and it's important the us put forward its own vision of data privacy first. it should not be copy and paste. the topic of this hearing focused on antitrust that one of the most important critiques of gdpr that it only ends up serving those companies that are wealthy enough to comply with a very heavy burden that comes along with it so with that concentration of power in big tech while there are still limitations on privacy protections. i think of the japanese motto to think about how can like-minded countries come together to put in place certain standards to allow
data to flow with certain conditions in place? has to be a certification regime with the privacy protections already outlined so that required new ones as well with the committee to do that. >> now does that require and international treaty? can we pass legislation in alignment with others with that collaboration? >> i think this is when i have to get back to you on the specific nuts and bolts of those tools that are in place i will follow up with you and your staff after. >> so we learned the chinese
government has example could approach this as the military personnel. and then as we have other information that those with that legal pressure on —- purchase of the security forces of china. >> the chinese government is moving rapid the ahead with that which is deemed vital to national security even in the commercial sector to put in place a data security to put forward the data classification scheme to move across sectors for what kind of sector is to national security and that has new higher obligations as well as
localization requirements overthrew the data can be shared with. >> i think it was you saying it could be counterproductive and that data is essential to the economic as a whole linking to national security so in your mind is what they are doing counterproductive? think the chinese government is shooting itself in the foot by over classifying the kind of data that is vital to national security. but theory what they are trying to do is say certain kinds of data is vital to national security and needs to be lockdown and other kinds of data should flow and circulate in the economy. know how that will happen in
practice is another story but there could be something that mr. sherman president biden in the executive order and with that security risk of transactions with it should be restricted and that executive order not all data but one thing we can do is have a more thoughtful process following that executive order around what kind of data is entitled to national security and subject to higher protections and which is less sensitive and subjected to more sharing? >> is there any sort of data? of course we say location data
and use it for xyz purpose this is very important. maybe you just want to hear this for city planning et cetera so if you have another robust data set to compare that to? >> as mentioned there is a difference between data with the social security number attached but at the end of the day you can identify as we have right testified there is so much by different companies it's so easy to identify people by name. >> so now i will sign off because they have to transition that for your testimony thank you to those witnesses who didn't ask
questions but we found your testimony very interesting. >> thank you for being such a great partner on this i really appreciate it senator cassidy and i am delighted with the witnesses you have invited today to learn from them and to have many follow-up questions for the record thank you for your partnership this is just the opening-round and we will keep going. i have him around of questions i would like to ask right now. but now i'd like to focus on market dominance and the impact on workers so too long antitrust policies have focused on prices and consumers which is important and it shows we have week enforcement of those policies and it lets them increase prices across the board also how consolidation creates
other problems particularly for american workers when the's companies merge the executives like to talk about the new efficiencies. they usually mean they will lay off workers and cut wages. so if companies grow more dominant they have more and more power to cut wages with no real consequences for themselves because they know that is industries become more consolidated workers have fewer alternatives this means those that are subjected to dehumanizing conditions they cannot just move to do with the antitrust laws when it needs to better address this you work for amazon fresh a
lot of people order groceries for delivery and don't think about it but there is a process that happens behind the scenes to accomplish this feat can you explain how conditions how it has changed during the pandemic. >> so is an issue go to the website it causes a chain reaction of people in the warehouse together it is a small team of people that you know looking at the numbers and who are impacted running around the warehouse is bigger than a football field but then
an event smaller team and then to package the items out and then it goes to a smaller amount of people and then depending on where it is going on the conveyor belt and then it goes to my people and then we are responsible for thousands of those orders every day to make sure it is the customers so and during the pandemic so a lot of that
which was included and then to get right back to it and then to have kids and family members that are dependent and then basically to become nonexistent on things you have to work. >> this sounds really grueling. and then to find better employment and then to grow like no other company and with the small local businesses are closing. if conditions are just bad at the amazon workhouse what
other employment options do you and your coworkers has to support yourself and your families? >> a lot of my coworkers don't really have very many options open in new jersey. so most of the jobs warehouse jobs but they don't pay enough. so then we are stuck taking advantage of any warehouse like this. so we know we have no other choice due to lack of regulation and everything to protect us. >> so you are right. it is not an accident.
so in your industry but to be equipped amazon can pressure other companies to follow suit with the poor labor standards were to put them out of business. but it was announced last week that the amazon facility in alabama workers are entitled to hold the new union election. if that is successful it will be the first union ever in the united states. but i will ask about what it is like to negotiate with amazon if you don't have a union on your side. they claim that direct connection between managers and associates and then to wristband respond to the amazon employee that can you
the workers that are most at risk during the pandemic are more likely to be women or people of color so that just varies depending on the job. so the one thing i want to ask you, so what have you observed about amazons treatment of racial minorities and women? >> they will hire anyone and everyone. that is true. whether or not you can be promoted and what you will be doing. many are black and brown and very few of us are in the promotion process so then it looks okay but mostly they higher white managers out of
school that have never worked for amazon but the majority of the workforce is black and brown so when they do promote you the pay is different from those who are hired from outside so if you are black and brown making manager with internal promotions you get a lower wage compared to someone who's coming from outside that gets a higher wage and then it makes it even and more scarce with any type of leadership with any of that responsibility usually a white guy over someone that looks like me. >> i appreciate your testimony to talk about this. this all suggests to me that if we really tackle the dominant power issue by
fighting abusive employer practices we could accomplish two important goals to strengthen the labor force and advance gender equity vigorous competition is better for all americans who work and who purchase goods. thank you very much for your testimony i do appreciate it. i now ask for unanimous consent the statement can see for the subcommittee from the teamsters and the strategic organizing center for antitrust policy for workers including the tech sector to be entered into the record without objection. so ordered.
i think at this moment the united states is at an inflection point. income disparities we have not seen in our lifetimes. the governments lax enforcement of antitrust laws during the past few decades is a huge part of this problem. regulatorsde and judges have allowed merger after merger, and ther result is too little competition in u.s. markets. dominant firms in technology are free pretty much to do as they please, including on data collection. they raise prices, , reduce wag, threaten our privacy also they can boost their profits to their shareholders and make their ceos richer. i'm encouraged that the biden administration is committed to stronger enforcement actions across agencies, and committed to promoting competition.
but congress has to step up and do its part, too. it's time for congress to find update our antitrust laws. we should ban all mergers involving huge corporations. the biggest companies need to compete on the merits. they need to offer better products, better prices, better service here not just by up their rivals and then gouge consumers. and second, we had to give our antitrust agencies better tools to break up the anti-competitive dealsal that are most harmful to our economy like facebook's acquisition of instagram. .. uard our workforce. those synergies that reduce corporat who deserve to work with dignity are paying a huge st