Smaller tech companies that offer more privacy options than the dominant giants on Tuesday sent a letter urging Congress to pass a key antitrust bill.
A dozen companies, including Proton, Mozilla and DuckDuckGo, asked House and Senate leaders to bring the American Innovation and Choice Online Act to a vote “as soon as possible,” arguing it would lead to more competition and therefore more privacy options for consumers.
“Massive tech platforms can exert influence over society and the digital economy because they ultimately have the power to collect, analyze, and monetize exorbitant amounts of personal information. This is not by accident, as some of the tech giants have intentionally abused their gatekeeper positions to lock users into perpetual surveillance while simultaneously making it difficult to switch to privacy-protective alternatives,” the companies wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared with The Hill.
The legislation, backed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in the Senate and Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) in the House, advanced out of the Judiciary Committees in both chambers with bipartisan support but has yet to be called for floor votes.
The bill aims to limit dominant tech platforms, including Meta, Apple, Amazon and Google, from preferencing their own products and services over rivals.
Supporters of the legislation are facing a fast-approaching deadline ahead of the contentious midterm elections. But Klobuchar said in an interview with Vox’s Kara Swisher at the Code Conference last week that the legislation is not dead.
“It is really hard to take on these subjects when you have the biggest companies the world has ever known, that control an inordinate part of the economy, opposed to it,” Klobuchar said in the interview. “It is an incredible amount of money I’m up against. I have two lawyers. They have 2,800 lawyers and lobbyists. So I’m not naive about the David versus Goliath.”