Washington (AP) — Congress has taken a new step towards curbing Big Tech’s market power.
Bipartisan legislation promoted by Senate committees will prohibit dominant online platforms from favoring their own products and services over their rivals. For example, you can prevent Amazon from directing consumers to your brand or keeping you away from competitors’ products on a huge e-commerce platform.
The bill also could limit Google’s search engine, which accounts for about 90% of web searches worldwide and places its services at the top of search results on a regular basis.
The bill was sent to the Senate on Thursday with 16-6 votes on the Senate Judiciary Committee. This action has revolutionized Congress’s efforts to curb the dominance and anti-competitive practices of tech giants, who critics say have hurt consumers, small businesses and innovation.
Lobbying by Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Amazon, Apple and other tech giants was fierce prior to the Senate’s actions.
The industry has warned that due to legislative restrictions, it will damage Amazon Prime, a very popular streaming and shopping service with free delivery and an estimated 200 million members worldwide.
The bill “will harm consumers and more than 500,000 US small businesses selling in the Amazon store,” Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, said in a blog post. “It will jeopardize Amazon’s ability to operate a marketplace for sellers and significantly reduce the benefits of Amazon Prime, which customers love.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar and other members of the Minnesota Democratic Party, who lead the bill, have ensured that the bill will not affect Amazon Prime or other subscription services.
Carfaffles highlight the subtle challenges faced by legislators whose almost free or near-free services are popular with consumers and aim to tighten the reins of a powerful industry that is embedded in everyday life. Did.
The new law is complex, and senators from both parties opposed some provisions, even though they all condemned the actions of the tech giants. Before the bill reaches the Senate seats, many proposed amendments are carried over for negotiations, promising that those negotiations will be energetic.
Klobuchar, who heads the judicial subcommittee on competition policy, said there is little room for action as the midterm elections take place in November. “I have to get to the floor by then,” she said in a telephone interview.
If the Democratic Party loses a majority in parliament, the chances of passing a technology bill could be significantly diminished. Most Republicans are critical of Big Tech’s dominance, but many are hesitant to make major changes to their competition rules.
Legislative advances are under the new head of the strong Federal Trade Commission, where high-tech giants are already federal investigations, spectacular antitrust proceedings from federal and state regulators, and intense critics of the industry. It comes from being wise.
In the House of Representatives, a judicial committee last June approved an ambitious bill that could curb market power of tech giants and even separate the dominant platform from other businesses. Since then, there has been no house action on the package.
“We need this bill to help consumers and prevent competition and innovation,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of D-Connecticut said in a pre-voting Senate debate Thursday. rice field.
But Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, one of the six Republicans who voted against the bill, argued that the drafted bill risks hindering innovation. He said he needed to be more clear about what actions were allowed or prohibited.
Five other Republicans have joined the Commission’s majority of Democrats and voted in favor of the bill. Among them is Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who co-authored the bill with Klobuchar. Sponsors say they have won the support of tech giant competitors such as Roku, DuckDuckGo, Yelp, Spotify, Match Group, Sonos and Patreon.
Alex Padilla, a senator from the Democratic Party of California, home of Big Tech’s Silicon Valley, said crackdowns on the “self-priority” tech platform for its products get answers from consumer choices and specific search engines. He said it could compromise the convenience of one-click.
Like Amazon, Meta, Google, and Apple deny that they are abusing their position in the dominant market. They argue that improper intervention in the market by law will hurt consumers and small businesses that depend on their platform.
The bill includes measures to “block the platform’s ability to provide security by default and expose people to phishing attacks, malware, and spam content.” Blog post. “It still contains provisions that may prevent us from providing useful and free services to consumers and businesses.”
In a letter to the Associated Press’s Judiciary Committee leader, Apple said the law, and another bill on the app to be considered later, “actually harms the privacy and security of U.S. consumers. Will have an effect. ” “
“These bills reward people who were irresponsible for their data and empower malicious people to target consumers with malware, ransomware, and fraud,” the letter said.
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New Steps to Suppress the Power of High-Tech Giants Taken by the Senate Panel | WGN Radio 720
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