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Life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the Capitol lawn before his testimony before Congress in 2018. (Flickr Photo / Joe Flood)

Big Tech is in the federal government’s crosshairs as Congress and regulatory agencies zero in on the technology industry this week.

The news: The Federal Trade Commission is creating a dedicated task force to monitor competition in the technology industry. The team will be responsible for “investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct” and consult on “prospective merger reviews in the technology sector and reviews of consummated technology mergers,” according to the FTC announcement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House and Senate are holding parallel hearings on technology and privacy this week. The hearings will reveal how lawmakers are thinking about data privacy and may indicate whether they plan to pre-empt state laws.

The impact: The tech industry’s privacy foibles have dominated headlines for more than a year but the federal government has been slow to respond. Tech magnet states, like California, are taking matters into their own hands with their own privacy laws. Washington state is considering its own privacy legislation. If Congress passes a federal law, it could pre-empt states’ efforts to regulate the tech industry.

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