Hillicon Valley — Klobuchar pushes for probe into Amazon

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is requesting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launch an investigation into Amazon’s recent proposal to buy primary health care provider One Medical. 

In other news, Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary under former President Obama, is leaving his role as head of Amazon’s global affairs for a top policy job at Airbnb. 

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

FTC urged to probe Amazon’s proposed deal  

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a fierce critic of Amazon’s market power, is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the e-commerce giant’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of primary health care provider One Medical. 

Klobuchar, the chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, asked the FTC in a letter Thursday to investigate the deal over concerns she said it raises about anti-competitive behavior in the pharmaceutical industry and sensitive data it would allow the company to accumulate. 

  • “This proposed transaction raises questions about potential anticompetitive effects related to the pharmacy services business Amazon already owns and about preferencing vendors who offer other services through Amazon,” Klobuchar wrote. 
  • “I also ask that the FTC consider the role of data, including as a potential barrier to entry, given that this proposed deal could result in the accumulation of highly sensitive personal health data in the hands of an already data-intensive company,” she added. 

Read more here. 

Carney jumps from Amazon to Airbnb

Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary under former President Obama, is leaving his role as head of Amazon’s global affairs for a top policy job at Airbnb. 

Airbnb announced Friday that Carney will start there in September, reporting to co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, and will be based in Washington, D.C. 

  • Carney, who has been the senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon since 2015, previously was Obama’s spokesman from 2011 to 2014. Before that, he was communications director for then-Vice President Biden. 
  • “Jay has worked at the highest levels of both government and technology, serving as a strategic counselor to the president and at one of the largest tech companies in the world,” Chesky said in a statement on the hire. 

Read more here. 

META ADDS $150 MILLION TO FUND OVERSIGHT BOARD 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is providing an additional $150 million in funding for its independent Oversight Board that oversees certain content moderation decisions for the platform.  

Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg announced the funding Friday, adding to the initial $130 million investment the company made in 2019 when establishing the board. 

Although funded by Meta, the board, which is made up of outside experts and civic leaders, is designed to run independently from the company.  

“By making this ongoing financial commitment, Meta has issued a vote of confidence in the work of the Board and its efforts to apply Facebook and Instagram content standards in a manner that protects freedom of expression and pertinent human rights standards,” Stephen Neal, chairperson of the Oversight Board Trust, said in a statement. 

Read more here. 

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Why is the US following the EU’s lead on artificial intelligence regulation? 

Notable links from around the web: 

Amazon just bought my doctor’s office. That makes me very nervous (The Washington Post / Geoffrey Fowler) 

Twitter Spy Trial Exposes Betrayal of Saudi Arabia Dissidents (Bloomberg / Joel Rosenblatt) 

Inside Ukraine’s open-source war (Financial Times / Gillian Tett) 

One more thing: Child pornography sentencing

A former Architect of the Capitol employee who worked at the Library of Congress was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in prison for using the Library’s wireless network to download images and videos of children being sexually abused. 

Gary Lee Peksa pleaded guilty in December to a child pornography charge and will be placed on supervised release for 20 years after leaving prison. 

Peksa regularly used the WiFi at the Library of Congress to access child sex abuse material, the court determined, which he would view on his cellphone in the bathroom, his office and a breakroom. 

Read more here. 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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