Senate Committee Offers Managers’ Amendment, Presses On With Legislation That Harms Popular Tech Services, Increases Security Risks

BY Heather Greenfield
January 19, 2022

Washington – Senate Judiciary Committee leaders have offered a managers’ amendment for a tech regulation bill the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up Thursday. The legislation that would affect low-cost and free-to-the-user digital services offered by a handful of tech companies with new regulations that carve out most tech competitors – including foreign companies. 

The legislation, S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, has come under criticism in recent weeks as more national security officials and some economic leaders have questioned the wisdom of hamstringing a few U.S. tech leaders and potentially put U.S. user data and national security at risk. 

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, an international not for profit tech trade association, has advocated for competition in the tech industry for 50 years.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“The managers’ amendment concedes many of the critiques of the bill, yet does nothing to address the fact that it will put consumers’ security and privacy at risk, and threatens to cripple services that consumers love and that small businesses use to reach their customers.”

“This bill still disregards the principles that have governed the U.S. market economy, and led to a successful tech industry. It tosses out previous consumer-focused considerations and instead jeopardizes popular products and services.”

“Even as this legislation is being rushed to a markup, more experts are questioning the wisdom in hamstringing a few U.S. companies, forcing them to share data and other information with foreign rivals. That may work as a political strategy, but it is not a sound economic or security strategy.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President of Public Policy, Arthur Sidney:

“Rather than fix problems in the underlying bill, the manager’s amendment exacerbates them by expanding the type of conduct that falls within the ambit of the bill and focusing upon potentially less than 7 companies cloaked under the guise of “antitrust.” This bill isn’t antitrust, but is government-mandated regulation that will upend the affected services. Some of the provisions of the bill like the mandated interoperability requirements might be impracticable for these companies to comply with, and among other things, tie companies’ hands with respect to content moderation. The amendment continues to put U.S. tech competitiveness and innovation at risk. Consumers are not calling for these changes, and ultimately they will be the ones hurt the most along with small businesses.”

For additional information, please see Vice President Arthur Sidney’s DisCo blog posts here and here.

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield [email protected]

 

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