The University of Colorado Boulder will host a congressional field hearing this month on how technology giants are influencing the market and, in some cases, stifling competition.
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, announced the Jan. 17 event on Wednesday, making it the second time in six months a field hearing has taken place in Boulder.
Neguse is the vice chair of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, also serves on the subcommittee.
“Having these hearings in our community both gives our community the opportunity to engage directly in congressional matters to make sure their voice is heard, and it also gives us the opportunity to highlight some of the amazing things that are happening in our backyard,” Neguse said.
Representatives from businesses including Sonos, Tile and Boulder-based PopSockets will testify at the hearing, according to spokeswoman Sally Tucker.
“The subcommittee is very interested in investigating concentration in digital markets, which has allowed some big companies to engage in anti-competitive behavior and also raise a number of very serious privacy concerns,” Neguse said. “We’re going to hear from companies that have in many cases been victims in terms of having to navigate that monopoly power.”
Tech giants such as Google and Amazon, which have been the subject of increasing antitrust scrutiny, also have offices in Boulder.
Neguse declined to comment on whether those companies would come up during the Jan. 17 hearing.
Amie Stepanovich, executive director of the Silicon Flatirons Center at CU Boulder’s Law School, said the hearing will be an extension of the center’s year-round mission to facilitate research and conversation on technology law, policy and entrepreneurship.
“CU Law has been so central in trying to do outreach with the entrepreneurial community in Boulder and in Colorado, and being able to bring members of Congress here to connect with innovators and entrepreneurs is really inspiring to see,” she said. “The hearing is on such an important and nuanced topic, and it’s really elevating the debate that’s happened over the last few years and bringing it to the people.”
Stepanovich said she’s looking forward to hearing from smaller companies on how they have been impacted by the evolving digital marketplace.
“Having the hearing in Boulder, where you have everything from major players in the tech space to five-person startups, really gets at the variety you see in these companies,” she said.
If you go
What: Congressional subcommittee hearing, “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 5: Competitors in the Digital Economy”
When: 10 a.m., Jan. 17
Where: CU Boulder Law School, Whittmyer Courtroom, 2450 Kittredge Loop Drive
More information: www.colorado.edu/law