A US Senator has accused the country’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of working with the European Union to help it impose its online censorship laws.
Texas Republican Ted Cruz lashed out at the agency’s chairwoman Lina Khan in a recent letter, accusing her of working with the European Commission to help implement the bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA).
Both measures, Cruz argues, unjustly “target American businesses” while leaving the Big Tech firms of other nations “largely off the hook”.
Despite this, he noted that the FTC had previously vowed to support the EU in its regulatory efforts, with the agency vowing to “deepen” its “coordination efforts” with the EC in regards to the DMA.
“Your agency’s collusion with foreign governments not only undermines US sovereignty and Congress’s constitutional law-making authority, but also damages the competitiveness of US firms and could negatively affect the savings of millions of Americans who hold stock in those companies via retirement savings accounts and pension plans,” Cruz wrote.
He has now demanded that the FTC hand over details of its meetings with EU officials and provide information regarding the activities of any FTC employees or officials who have been involved in either the DSA or DMA.
The European Union’s censorious Digital Services Act is compatible with freedom of speech, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton has stated. https://t.co/spBwhZgL2g
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) July 28, 2023
Cruz has also sent a similar letter to the EU’s San Francisco office effectively accusing it of being a forward operating base for DSA and DMA enforcement procedures in the United States.
The Texas representative backed up his accusation with reference to the timing of the office being set up, noting that it was established “six weeks after the European Council approved the Digital Markets Act and four weeks before the European Council approved the Digital Services Act”.
“Facts indicate that the EU likely opened the San Francisco office to ensure that US businesses comply with its new draconian regulations,” he wrote.
Cruz also took aim at the office’s senior envoy Gerard de Graaf, arguing that his history of being “chief architect and head cheerleader” for both the DMA and DSA further revealed the true intentions of the EU facility.
The Senator has now demanded that the office hand over a number of documents related to its operations, including those detailing the identities and roles of US government employees, officials, and businessmen who have visited the office since last September.
Under both the DSA and DMA, Big Tech organisations largely based in the US will be forced to adhere to additional rules and regulations if they want to continue operating in the EU.
This includes censoring content deemed problematic by the EC, such as so-called “hate speech” and “disinformation”.
Social media sites that break such rules run the risk of being handed hefty fines, and even being completely removed from the internet within the EU.
Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has announced changes to its social media platforms in response to new European Union censorship laws coming into force. https://t.co/P93ZmsvM6r
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 23, 2023