Lawmakers demand Jeff Bezos testify on Amazon’s alleged misuse of information

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In a letter dated Friday, Home lawmakers mentioned the report from the Wall Avenue Journal appeared to contradict Amazon’s earlier testimony that the corporate doesn’t use particular person vendor information to compete with them. Amazon (AMZN) had instructed lawmakers final yr that it makes use of aggregated vendor information.

Amazon beforehand instructed the Journal that it’s investigating the allegations internally and that workers caught utilizing particular person vendor information could be in violation of firm insurance policies.

“Like different retailers, we take a look at gross sales and retailer information to supply our clients with the very best expertise,” Amazon instructed the Journal. “Nevertheless, we strictly prohibit our workers from utilizing nonpublic, seller-specific information to find out which personal label merchandise to launch.”

Amazon did not instantly reply to CNN Enterprise’s request for touch upon the letter.

The letter highlights the rising threat for Amazon in Washington, the place policymakers have more and more zeroed in on the corporate’s relationships with impartial sellers on its market as a part of a broader give attention to antitrust issues. And it underscores how Amazon’s very important function in getting objects to shoppers in the course of the pandemic has additionally made it a much bigger topic of scrutiny by skeptical politicians.

The pandemic is playing to almost every one of Amazon's strengths

“If the reporting within the Wall Avenue Journal article is correct, then statements Amazon made to the Committee in regards to the firm’s enterprise practices look like deceptive, and presumably criminally false or perjurious,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter threatened to compel Bezos to testify if mandatory. It was signed by Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, in addition to Rep. David Cicilline, who heads the panel’s antitrust subcommittee and is main an antitrust probe of the tech business.

The letter additionally faulted Amazon for what the lawmakers mentioned was a failure to cooperate swiftly sufficient with the antitrust investigation, saying Amazon has “not made an sufficient manufacturing” of proof in response to committee requests.

Congress has steadily requested tech CEOs to testify in recent times as scrutiny of their privateness practices and market energy has grown. Fb (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifed a number of occasions final yr; Google CEO Sundar Pichai additionally testified in 2018. It is unclear whether or not Bezos will comply with of their footsteps.
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The alleged misuse of particular person vendor information has raised aggressive issues as a result of it may doubtlessly give Amazon an unfair benefit in a market it controls. Critics comparable to Sen. Elizabeth Warren have used baseball analogies to explain Amazon, arguing that it’s each umpire and crew proprietor and implying that Amazon may abuse its place for unlawful beneficial properties.

Bezos’s relationship with the nation’s capital has advanced considerably. After shopping for a house within the space and asserting that the area will play host to Amazon’s new headquarters, Bezos has upped his engagement with the Trump administration, speaking steadily with the White Home amid the pandemic.

However in different areas, he has sought to maintain his distance — for instance, by declining to satisfy personally with Trump’s commerce adviser, Peter Navarro, as regards to counterfeit items, a choice that has led to a bizarrely private feud. Amazon has additionally accused Trump of interfering politically with the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract, the Joint Enterprise Protection Infrastructure.

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