Anti-Tech Bills Hurt Consumers And Privacy
American consumers love the innovative products offered by leading tech companies. These products are being threatened by the proposed American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and its House companion. Specifically, these bills harm consumer convenience and privacy by:
— Breaking products and services consumers love
— Undermining the security and privacy of technology offerings
The proposed anti-tech bills break products and services consumers love
The AICOA will ban conveniences that consumers love, writes Adam Kovacevich, Founder and CEO of Chamber of Progress. “Giving antitrust enforcers more funding and encouraging data portability are relatively uncontroversial ideas, but banning conveniences like AmazonBasics brand batteries, Apple’s Find my Phone tool, or Google Maps appearing in Google search results are ideas that would spark a consumer backlash. Instead of focusing on helping families, these proposals inexplicably target a bunch of technological conveniences that most people really like.”
The Senate bill and its House companion favor commercial rivals at the expense of consumers and their satisfaction.
— The legislation would prohibit Google from showing a range of helpful search results, but allow Google’s competitors to show the same information.
— The bills would ban Amazon from common business practices while exempting the biggest retailers, like Walmart, CVS, Target, and Costco, from any similar burden. The Senate bill would ruin the Prime two-day shipping guarantee and leave consumers and small businesses with less choice, convenience, and higher prices.
The bills undermine the security and privacy of technology offerings
The Senate bill takes a “guilty-until-innocent approach” and would have a “chilling effect on security” explains R Street Institute’s Tatyana Bolton. “Unfortunately, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) takes a similar guilty-until-innocent approach, which mentions security in only one of seven prohibited practices and would have much the same chilling effect on security as the House bills.”
Anti-tech legislation would potentially put American data in the hands of Chinese rivals, warn 12 former top U.S. national security officials in a joint letter to Congress. “Recent congressional antitrust proposals that target specific American technology firms would degrade critical R&D priorities, allow foreign competitors to displace leaders in the U.S. tech sector both at home and abroad, and potentially put sensitive U.S. data and IP in the hands of Beijing.”
Breaking up America’s leading tech companies would leave the nation vulnerable to cyberattack as companies would have less resources and scale to defend themselves, explains CCIA. “At a moment in history when it has never been more clear that cyber threats are very real and can impact the daily operation of the economy as well as essential services, the provisions in the House bills that seek to reduce the size, scale, and integration of a handful of leading U.S. tech firms, especially H.R. 3825 and H.R. 3816, could significantly hinder the ability of the agencies to fulfill their missions to defend against such threats. A scattered group of smaller, isolated platforms with scant perspective of the threats they each face, and fewer resources, will be unable to engage in the same level of threat detection, investigation, mitigation and information sharing.”
The AICOA “would likely harm users’ privacy online” and “malicious businesses, including foreign companies, could exploit its data portability loophole and gain access to user information,” explains Jennifer Huddleston. “In most cases, this bill also requires companies to share their data with rivals, even those that might have ill-intentions against the company, its consumers, or even the United States. Thanks to the requirements in the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, malicious businesses, including foreign companies, could exploit its data portability loophole and gain access to user information. It opens up businesses to the very actions at the heart of other previous data privacy scandals and dilutes their ability to respond with what consumers want—better security and privacy options. And as a result, Klobuchar’s antitrust proposal would likely harm users’ privacy online and create more harm to consumers than the current tenuous claims about tech giants’ market behavior.”