Saturday, Jun 10, 2023

Revealing vast scope of FTC probe, Amazon accuses the government of harassing Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy

Revealing vast scope of FTC probe, Amazon accuses the government of harassing Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy

Amazon is fighting the US government's attempt to question its founder, Jeff Bezos, and its CEO, Andy Jassy, as part of a year-long investigation into whether the e-commerce giant has illegally pushed Amazon Prime and other subscription services onto consumers.

In a filing to the Federal Trade Commission dated August 5 and recently made public, Amazon (AMZN) accused the agency of making "burdensome" legal requests that "serve no other purpose than to harass Amazon's highest-ranking executives and disrupt its business operations."

The company also alleges that FTC staff have been pressured to wrap up the investigation and, as soon as this fall, issue a formal recommendation to the commission on next steps.

Amazon's filing calls for top FTC officials to intervene by limiting the scope of the agency's requests for information; extending the company's deadline to respond; and allowing company lawyers to represent 17 current or former Amazon officials, including Bezos and Jassy, who were served separately with civil subpoenas as part of the investigation.

The FTC declined to comment.

The petition highlights the growing tensions between Amazon and the FTC, which under Chair Lina Khan has aggressively pushed to expand oversight of Big Tech. And it also reveals the extraordinary breadth of the FTC's investigation, which has expanded to cover nearly a half-dozen Amazon services including Audible, Amazon Music, Kindle Unlimited and Subscribe & Save.

Last week, Khan — who in 2019 and 2020 helped lead a House antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple (AAPL), Google and Facebook —signaled the FTC could soon draft sweeping new privacy regulations to control how businesses can collect, use and share Americans' personal data.

The initiative could ultimately drive at the core business models of many large tech platforms, including Amazon, and raises questions about everything from social media algorithms to targeted advertising and so-called "dark patterns" — user interface designs meant to subtly steer people toward accepting certain settings or to remain subscribed to services.

Since March 2021, the FTC has been investigating whether Amazon may have used unlawfully deceptive techniques to automatically subscribe people to Amazon Prime, Amazon's filing confirms. Since then, Amazon has provided roughly 37,000 documents in response to the probe, the filing said.

A year later, Amazon said, after months of radio silence, the FTC sent the company a new legal request that dramatically expanded the agency's informational requests to include the other businesses. It even sought information on whether Amazon execs may have used "ephemeral messaging" — a feature provided in apps such as Signal and Telegram that automatically deletes messages after they're sent — to secretly discuss Amazon's Prime enrollment practices.

"The work to comply with requests for these non-Prime programs is just beginning. It is unworkable to have it completed in a few weeks as staff has demanded," Amazon wrote to the FTC in its filing. Because each of the other businesses are run by different teams of people, Amazon would need time the FTC has not granted to interview dozens of potential witnesses and collect relevant data to comply with the investigation, the filing said.

The new request this June came after a Business Insider article in the spring described internal Amazon documents that reportedly showed how some within the company were concerned about the use of dark patterns in connection with Amazon Prime. (Amazon's filing shows the FTC's communications to the company had mentioned an article by Insider, but the filing does not disclose which one.)

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

US and European Intelligence Agencies Uncover Evidence of Ukrainian Role in Terror Attack on Nord Stream Pipeline
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Hold Power Talks with President Biden in Washington
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
If you donated to BLM, you got played
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
Actor Tom Hanks told Harvard University graduates to be superheroes in their defense of truth and American ideals, and to resist those who twist the truth for their own gain
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
France Arrests 10 on Suspicion of Failing to Respond in Time to Migrant Drowning
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Saudi Arabia and Canada Restore Diplomatic Relations
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Last Walmart in North Portland Closing Down
Florida's DeSantis seeks to disqualify judge in Disney case
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Disney has canceled plans to build a new campus in Florida worth almost $1 billion
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
King Charles III being crowned.
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became
Ukraine More Prepared for Counterattack as Reinforcements Arrive
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Discuss Migration, Defence, and Ukraine
Tucker Carlson is back, soon!
AT&T's Successful Test of Satellite-Based Phone Call Raises Possibility of Widespread Coverage
CNN: "Joe Biden is asking for four more years — when 74% of Americans think the country is heading the wrong way“
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Cuts Short Live TV Interview Due to Health Issue
US Congresswoman threaten Twitter Files journalist with arrest
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh slams New York Times' pro-government stance and treatment of sources
Enough is enough: it's time to end the war in Ukraine. While Russia may be to blame for starting it, Russia is not the one refusing to stop it
Fox News Settles their case with Dominion Voting Systems for a staggering $787.5 MILLION
The land of the free violence