On Tuesday, a group of 13 companies urged the U.S. Congress to approve a bill that would rein in giant tech companies like Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook.
DuckDuckGo, Mozilla, Proton, and other companies voiced their backing for a bill to point out that the Big Tech platforms like Amazon.com and Google have used their dominance to drive consumers away from services that offer more privacy protections.
The legislation would prohibit companies from promoting their products on their platforms over their competitors if enacted. In simple terms, if this bill takes effect and you search for a product on Amazon, the top results won’t be Amazon’s own products.
“Smaller, independent companies want to offer products that give people real control online. Due to harmful self-preferencing practices, a small number of giants dictate what we experience online,” Jennifer Hodges, the head of Mozilla’s U.S. Public Policy & Government Affairs, told CNET.
Brave, DuckDuckGo, Mozilla, and other such privacy-focused companies sent a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday urging them to vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act as soon as possible.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act – or AICOA – legislation was introduced in October 2021 by Minnesota Democrat Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. It has gained bipartisan support from senators like Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Cory Booker from New Jersey.
Apple wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee members stating, “After a tumultuous year that witnessed multiple controversies regarding social media, whistleblower allegations of long-ignored risks to children, and ransomware attacks that hobbled critical infrastructure, it would be ironic if Congress responds by making it much harder to protect the privacy and security of Americans’ personal devices.”
“Americans might get worse, less relevant and less helpful versions of products. While these bills might help the companies campaigning for them, including some of our major competitors, that would come at a cost to consumers and small businesses,” Google wrote in a blog post defending their side.