Washington, D.C. (07/10/2023) – Since it was first introduced, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) faced fierce criticism from industry experts. Now that AICOA has been reintroduced, it’s clear that AICOA’s sponsors failed to address those serious, long-standing concerns. Instead, they’ve doubled-down on deeply-flawed policies and lost five Senate co-sponsors in the process.
“The primary difference between the version of AICOA that was reintroduced this year and last Congress’ version of the bill is that this latest iteration has five fewer cosponsors,” said Chandler Smith Costello, a spokeswoman for the Don’t Break What Works campaign. “It is unfortunate that the senators pushing AICOA have decided to reintroduce a version of the bill with the same, flawed policies that threaten to break products and services that Americans love, undermine U.S. innovation, and hurt our country’s ability to compete with our foreign rivals.”
Industry experts agree that the latest version of AICOA repeats the same mistakes as previous iterations that pose national security risks and threaten products and services American love:
“…As written, AICOA seriously curtailed content moderation policies by limiting the ability of companies to remove hate speech, harassment, and misinformation online. In June 2022, Senators unsuccessfully requested that the legislative language be clarified or it would risk “supercharg[ing] harmful content online and make it more difficult to combat.”
Importantly, the proposals’ provisions also harmed U.S. national security by preventing American companies from eliminating foreign government disinformation campaigns…”
“…This legislation would have a sweeping effect on our economy, national security, and global competitiveness. That’s why getting the legislation right is so important. Unfortunately, AICOA has been reintroduced without any significant changes and mirrors the bill that failed to gain meaningful support last Congress…
“Since AICOA was first introduced, lawmakers and national security experts have raised red flags. These legitimate and serious concerns remain and the bill’s full impact has not yet been fully examined…”
“…The version of AICOA Klobuchar tried and failed to pass last Congress enacted a litany of new restrictions on the business practices on companies above a certain size, a government-set cap on growth and innovation…
“The bill’s original sin is that it treats companies above an arbitrary government-determined size differently than their smaller rivals. If a business practice is bad, it should be illegal for every business, not just a select few. If the left is successful at imposing this market cap regulation mechanism, they will be able to trap any industry under the heavy hand of government… “
Further, nine industry groups representing consumer interests, small businesses, and companies that drive the online economy agree: bills like AICOA would hurt American consumers and the U.S. economy:
“…It is disheartening that lawmakers may again consider policies that would hamstring leading American technology companies while placing no corollary restrictions on foreign competitors including major Chinese technology companies that receive significant state investment and support. This approach will boost foreign economic actors and weaken America’s global technology leadership while introducing significant privacy and national security risks and constitutional concerns, and undermining digital trust and safety efforts that protect consumers…
“…Should Senators reintroduce failed legislative proposals from the 117th Congress, we urge the Subcommittee to hold a robust series of hearings with balanced perspectives to carefully examine the potential impact and consequences of each proposal. To date, the Subcommittee still has not held any legislative hearings on these proposals. If passed into law, they would amount to among the largest reordering of the U.S. economy in decades. Therefore, they deserve serious and substantive discussion and require input from all stakeholders including small businesses that leverage digital platforms to compete in a wide range of markets from software to retail…”
“..The Pentagon and the intelligence community rely on the resources and expertise of leading American developers to maintain the United States’ advantage in key areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber, robotics, and autonomous systems…
“…Congress must therefore stop targeting U.S. technology companies in the specious name of “competition.” Instead, it needs to find ways to incentivize those firms in their innovation race with Chinese competitors…”
The Don’t Break What Works campaign is powered by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Learn more here.