Big Tech attacks pro-consumer bill


You’ve probably seen the ads: An outrageous vote on Congress tapes, lawmakers take away popular tech services, break up Google Search, Amazon Prime ends two-day delivery and raises prices.

Indeed, the Congress leadership seems to have noticed them – and taken the intimidation tactics to heart. For months, the co-sponsors of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICO) have said they have a bipartisan vote to pass this legislation, which is under Big Tech’s mandate to control the marketplace and limit competition. Despite this support, Majority Leader Charles Schumer has yet to put it up for a vote. With Congress soon to go home, now is the time to pass this legislation that will benefit consumers in every state.

Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple have a history of growing too big to crush smaller companies and prevent new innovations from coming to market. Americans Take Notice: According to a 2020 Consumer Reports survey, three out of four Americans worry about the power of Big Tech and 60 percent support government action to curb harmful behavior.

These giants responded by spending nearly $120 million on advertising through 2021 and more than $36 million last summer, focusing solely on maintaining their power and turning people away from the AICO Act. They are betting that the call to action for consumers will slow down the binary momentum.

Let’s take a look at some of the misinformation that congressional leaders are delaying to help consumers.

It will cost you more money: Wrong

Americans are struggling to cope with inflation. Big Tech is trying to use this pain to their advantage, suggesting that the bill will add more value to Americans. But great competition actually has the opposite effect. If too much of an industry is in too few hands, there’s less choice, less accountability, and yes, higher prices. The competition forces companies to make products more attractive (including the price). These corporations are spending millions on advertising to keep their competitors off the playing field so they can continue to value your loyalty.

Makes you more vulnerable to cyber attacks: Wrong

Big Tech said the law would increase the risk of cyberattacks, using only scary-looking images of computers as evidence in their ads. Terrible. They argue that it will be difficult for businesses like Apple to provide security updates. But the bill doesn’t stop Apple from protecting your phone. In fact, Apple clearly allows it to help protect users from cyber threats, both domestic and foreign. As Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and Harvard professor of cybersecurity, wrote to Congress, “Claims about threats to privacy and security are both false and disingenuous, and serve their own interests, not the public good.”

It “breaks” your favorite services: Error

One of the industry’s favorite scare tactics is that your favorite services will be disrupted. Tech reps fighting the law say it “breaks” Prime’s two-day free offer. But the real story is more complicated. Amazon loves businesses that use Amazon Fulfillment Services. So even if a business that uses UPS has the best product, you may not see that option up front. Sellers should be free to choose any service that will get their products to their customers quickly, cheaply and securely without penalty. This bill doesn’t break Prime — it breaks one of the ways Amazon bullies businesses and washes away your choices.

Here’s what the bill actually does: In essence, the AICO Act prevents large online companies from intimidating smaller ones and leaves consumers with fewer options. So if the law passes, Google won’t be able to prioritize its own services over its competitors in search results. Amazon cannot use non-public information it collects from other businesses to give its own products an unfair advantage. And we all benefit from greater competition and innovation.

They don’t want these companies to remember that they were just startups trying to make their mark. In the year If there weren’t restrictions on Microsoft in the 1990s, Google, Apple and Amazon might have been destroyed before they got off the ground.

Monopolies don’t give up power voluntarily – that’s why we need this bill. While we love many of their products and services, the balance of power is very far from the crowd. It’s time for Congressional leaders to stop stalling, pass this bill that creates competition, and help put consumers in control of the digital economy.

Martha L. Tellado is president and CEO of Consumer Reports and author of “Buyer Insights: Harnessing the Power of Our Customers for a Safe, Fair and Transparent Marketplace.”



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