- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2018

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Monday encouraged the Department of Justice to review the power that America’s massive tech firms, such as Google, have over the U.S. economy.

His remarks came in reaction to a “60 Minutes” TV segment Sunday night exploring antitrust questions raised by Google’s online search monopoly and the possible harm it poses to market competition.

“These issues deserve to be reviewed carefully,” Mr. Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday when asked about the “60 Minutes” report. “These are issues the Justice Department needs to look at seriously, not for any one company, but as these technology companies have a greater and greater impact on the economy.”

Recent months have seen increased public concern over the power of America’s Silicon Valley-based tech giants. In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bowed to months of pressure to appear before Congress and provide testimony over his firm’s data security policies and also its past failures to stop online propaganda.

Sunday’s “60 Minutes” story scrutinized long-running claims that Google is a monopoly and stifles competition. The report unearthed no new allegations, but it revisited critics who claim the search engine giant abuses its marketplace dominance.

It also highlighted how Google’s rivals are encouraging Washington to adopt Europe’s antitrust approach to the firm.

Last year, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined Google $2.7 billion for promoting its shopping service over its competitors. It was the largest fine ever imposed by the EU in an antitrust case.

On Monday, Mr. Mnuchin said that “issues of monopolies are out of my lane,” but added that it is up to the Justice Department to review antitrust violations.

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