Justice Dept. Could Widen Its Scrutiny of Tech Companies, Official Says

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department could broaden its efforts to bring technology giants to heel, going beyond investigating potential antitrust violations to potentially challenge companies like Google and Facebook on multiple fronts, the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, warned on Monday.

“We do not view antitrust law as a panacea for every problem in the digital world,” Mr. Rosen said during a speech in Washington at an American Bar Association antitrust forum. “We will not ignore any harms caused by online platforms that partially or completely fall outside the antitrust laws.”

The Justice Department has been engaged in an in-depth antitrust review of technology giants including Google, which dominates the online advertising market and whose operating system is found in the majority of smartphones around the world. The department is also working with state attorneys general to determine whether companies like Facebook have obtained too much market power.

But Mr. Rosen said that law enforcement officials will not limit their review to possible antitrust violations and could use legal tools that touched on areas including privacy, consumer protection and public safety as part of a broader investigation into the role that online platforms play in the lives of consumers.

Ryan Shores, an antitrust lawyer who joined Mr. Rosen’s office last month as his senior adviser for technology industries, will lead the review, Mr. Rosen said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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