WASHINGTON—This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on “competition in digital markets.”
There is an opportunity in this new Congress to build on the successes of American innovation over the past several decades and engage in innovative, forward-thinking and evidence-based modernization of antitrust law. NetChoice encourages Senators in the Committee to take this fact-driven approach, rather than trying to shove through a failed, recycled antitrust package from the last Congress that was riddled with very serious flaws.
“Changes to antitrust laws should be focused on enhancing competition without jeopardizing the consumer benefits and economic prosperity that has emerged from our evidence-focused approach to enforcement,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “But the legislation pushed last Congress would have increased costs to Americans, reduced our security and consolidated more power in legacy media, while uplifting a few, preferred businesses at a significant cost to many others.”
“The idea that any of the players in the tech market have some kind of ‘dominance’ is total hogwash, and Congress knows it. Competition in digital markets is alive, aggressive and well,” continued Szabo. “Rather than further harming American consumers, our national security and our economy with more progressive nonsense, Congress would be wise to take an evidence-based approach to regulating the economy.”
“As other committees investigate how the government has over-extended its existing powers and authority, the last thing Congress should do is hand progressive bureaucrats more power.”
Read NetChoice’s Comment for the Committee here.
Below, you can find information on why each of Klobuchar’s key antitrust bills from last year failed, as well as a one-page summary.
Please contact Krista Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA)
- Several studies show that AICOA will increase inflation for Americans. It would do so by dramatically raising the costs for companies to operate. This abysmal finding comes on the heels of prices—especially on food—rising consistently across the U.S. for the last year.
- By defining a “covered platform” as a company with a market capitalization of over $550 billion and 50 million monthly users, AICOA sets an arbitrary size standard, rather than measuring a company’s true dominance within the marketplace or whether Americans are actually being harmed.
- By making it unlawful for covered companies to restrict “interoperability”, AICOA would unintentionally open up tech users to increased cybersecurity and privacy threats.
- AICOA will disadvantage American industry on the global stage by bogging them down in regulation, making products less affordable and undermining security services.
- If passed, AICOA would exacerbate content moderation issues by giving regulators more power over content moderation online. This would likely chill freedom of speech, as bureaucrats and politicians would have more influence on what speech is deemed acceptable.
- Polling from multiple firms show that Americans don’t want antitrust reform. In our recent survey with Echelon Insights, only 2% of Americans said regulating the tech industry is a top 3 priority, and of those who want regulation, they want Congress to focus on data privacy, not antitrust. This has also been reflected in other polling.
- In the last Congress, many members—even Democrats—seemed to not want it passed. This includes Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Democrat Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Suzan DelBene and Lou Correa.
The Open App Markets Act (OAMA)
- It would force covered platforms to drop their moderation standards for their app stores, flooding the marketplace with explicit or violent apps that would be more easily accessible by kids online.
- Companies would be required to accept virtually any app onto the store even if there’s no demand for it, or even worse, it outright tries to swindle users.
- By narrowly targeting a few American companies, OAMA will force consumers to face online app marketplaces filled with questionable and even dangerous app offerings.
- It was written to expressly target two companies while creating carve outs for others:
- OAMA was written to directly target Apple and Google, as they both have over 50 million U.S. users.
- Microsoft is one of the biggest tech companies with very large app stores, yet it is exempt from this bill entirely.
- It creates carve outs for other app stores that are already violating American privacy laws.
- OAMA would require companies to publicly release their security practices, giving cyber criminals the tools necessary to get around security firewalls. This will damage all of our safety and privacy online, especially with our most personal data, like medical and financial information.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA)
- It will make it more difficult and costly to get and share information from small, local news sources.
- JCPA will give government bureaucrats influence over information availability.
- It will provide an antitrust exemption for politically well-connected news media companies, like The New York Times, elevating these news outlets while diminishing competition in media.
- JCPA would further undermine the independence, public trust, and integrity of the media.
- It permits politically powerful news organizations to collude with one another to increase prices for consumers.
- JCPA is opposed by many organizations across the political spectrum, including NetChoice, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, Fight for the Future, CDT, CCIA, the Los Angeles Times, Breitbart.
- It also lacks the support of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Sens. Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio. Sen. Rand Paul, who was originally a co-sponsor last year, ended up pulling his support of the bill.