DuckDuckGo, Mozilla, Others Call on Congress to Vote on Tech Act

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Privacy-focused companies, such as DuckDuckGo, Brave and Mozilla, sent a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday urging them to vote as soon as possible on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

The law prohibits companies from promoting their products on their platforms by their competitors. That means if you pass them, the top results when you search for a product on Amazon will not be for products sold on Amazon.

The letter to members of Congress says big tech’s systems alienate consumers from competitors, limit competition, use private information to benefit the companies it names, and make it “impossible or complicated” for people to change their app settings.

“Small, independent companies want to provide products that give people real control online,” Jennifer Hodges, Mozilla’s head of public policy and government affairs, told CNET in an email. “Because of harmful self-selection habits, a small number of giants buy what we encounter online.”

However, tech companies like Apple and Google have opposed laws similar to AICOA, such as the Platform Monopolies Act and the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.

“After a year of so much controversy surrounding social media, allegations of long-overlooked dangers to children, and ransomware attacks that cripple critical infrastructure, it would be ironic if Congress responded by making it harder to protect Americans’ privacy and security. “Personal devices,” Apple wrote in a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Americans may be facing worse, less relevant and less useful versions of products,” Google said in a blog post.

The AICOA Act was introduced in October 2021 by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa. Since then, versions of the legislation have received bipartisan support from senators such as Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“Our legislation is designed to level the playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to operate on these platforms, as well as benefit the consumers who use them,” Grassley said.

For more on antitrust law, see How antitrust law affects big tech companies and what big tech is trying to stop.

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