WASHINGTON - Leading technology and national security experts have spoken out in support of U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)’s bipartisan legislation to restore competition online, highlighting how the American Innovation and Choice Online Act will protect and enhance security and privacy.
Here’s what experts are saying:
- “We believe that competition and accountability will incentivize platforms, payment processors, and app developers to better prioritize security,” wrote Governor Tom Ridge, the first United States Secretary for Homeland Security; Secretary Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of Homeland Security; Pat Meehan, former Chair of the House Homeland Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies; Steve Kohler, President of Ridge Global and former President of Winner Global Defense; and Amanda Forton, CEO and Co-Founder of Corellium. They concluded: “As Congress works to design effective policies that foster innovation and improve consumer choice in the digital economy, we urge you to embrace the proven role of competition in benefiting users and security.”
- Wesley Clark, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, called the legislation, “a boost to national security.”
- Bruce Schneier, a leading privacy expert, explained that “ the bill only prohibits ‘unfairly preferencing’... Any future changes that a platform makes to enhance privacy and security will still be permitted, as long as those changes are applied fairly to the platform’s own products and services as well as to third parties.”
- The Center for American Progress noted that under the legislation, “Platforms still have wide latitude to make privacy and security improvements on their platforms as they see fit” and that the bill provides “significant affirmative defenses…to protect privacy, safety, or security...”
- The Department of Justice, which assessed the legislation on multiple criteria, including security, endorsed the bill and highlighted that it “views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy.”
This strong support builds on growing momentum for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. Last month, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressed her backing of the legislation.
Recently, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and the Strategic Organizing Center sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging the legislation’s passage. The labor organizations wrote that the legislation “can and will help turn the tide in favor of working people, so they may share in the prosperity they help create every day…and help prevent these digital behemoths from…stifling the equality and fairness in the economy that workers so urgently need and deserve.” Additionally, a coalition of 58 non-profit and public policy organizations also wrote a letter endorsing the bill.
In February, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 16-6, making it the first major bill on technology competition to advance to the Senate floor since the dawn of the Internet.
In October, Klobuchar and Grassley introduced the American Innovation and Choice Online Act to set commonsense rules of the road for major digital platforms to ensure they cannot unfairly preference their own products and services. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO) lead companion legislation in the House, which passed the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-20 last July.
The Senate legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Kennedy (R-LA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).