In The American Prospect, America’s Private Government

Date: 18 Jun 2020 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Photo Caption: Alexander Pohl/Sipa USA via AP Images

In The American Prospect, ILSR Legal Fellow Shaoul Sussman, with Zephyr Teachout, explains how Amazon’s new patent solidifies the company’s aims to consolidate its power over sellers. Any brand or company that uses Amazon’s technology would have to list the manufacturers, couriers, and distributors they use.

Those entities will have to corroborate that they indeed sell to the brand. Amazon will know where and when every single sweater, earplug, and frying pan sold on its platform was made, and by whom.

The authors argue that this blockchain ledgering technology will let Amazon oversee the collection of data about its entire supply chain, which is unprecedented for a private company.

In essence, the patent fulfills Amazon’s plans to create a private regulatory regime, where it uses proprietary information to create a “certification” bureaucracy: a private, for-profit alternative to the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Trade Commission. Unlike governmental agencies, however, it will have no public oversight, and can use its certifying power to squeeze sellers and consolidate control.


Read the article here.

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Shaoul Sussman

Shaoul Sussman is a Legal Fellow at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. His research focuses on the intersection of antitrust law and big tech. Shaoul has published an academic paper and a number of articles about Amazon’s anticompetitive practices and the company’s negative influence on firms that rely on its e-commerce platform.