STRS: The “Revised” AICOA—New Version, Same Problems
Despite this week’s press conference, the revisions to the House and Senate antitrust bills do nothing to address the wide range of concerns raised by a variety of stakeholders, including Senators and Representatives, America’s leading tech innovators, and experts from national security, industry, and civil society. Here are some of the key concerns:
1. The legislation would arbitrarily break the products that consumers love and harm small businesses in the process.
— During the bill’s markup, numerous senators from both sides of the aisle warned that the AICOA could have serious consequences for small businesses and consumers alike by breaking many free technology tools and services.
— In a new paper, Professor Erik Hovenkamp warns that proposals aimed at self-preferencing would likely cause companies to slow down or stop introducing new products in order to avoid being captured by regulatory scrutiny.
— The AICOA would prohibit Google from showing a range of helpful search results but allows Google’s competitors to show the same information, effectively banning search results American consumers and businesses enjoy every day.
— The legislation targets select leading American companies with onerous regulations and would hurt consumers and small businesses by effectively breaking Amazon Prime as we know it, leaving consumers and small businesses with less choice, less convenience, and higher prices.
2. Anti-tech legislation could make inflation worse and reduce economic resiliency.
— Former Treasury Secretary and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers issued a dire warning about recent attempts to push populist, Brandeisian antitrust enforcement, saying that this type of policy “will make the US economy more inflationary and less resilient.”
— The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board explained that, amid rampant inflation and high interest rates, “the last thing America needs is a new regulatory shock from Congress.”
3. The bill could seriously harm American national security and consumer data security.
— Seven former U.S. national security officials released an open letter calling for a national security review of recent anti-tech legislation.
— Twelve former top national security officials say that Congress needs to build on America’s leading tech industry—not regulate it out of existence.
— Other national security experts, including Former U.S. NSA Robert C. O’Brien, Former U.S. Senator and DNI Dan Coats, and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), member of the House Committees on Intelligence and Homeland Security, have raised serious questions about how congressional anti-tech bills would harm U.S. national security.
— In a piece for the DisCo Project, CCIA’s Krisztian Katona, points out that the data security risks posed by the bill warrant a full risk assessment of the potential impacts of the legislation.
4. The new version of the bill contains major carve-outs for other industries.
— Tinkering with the text of the AICOA “could have made it worse” as big industries received “carve-outs,” explains Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.
— Tech Dirt Editor Mike Masnick noted that the revised version of the bill “somewhat incredibly” addresses none of the concerns raised with the first version; instead it carves-out telecommunications and financial companies