ICYMI: “New Antitrust Legislation Could Open the Door to Cybersecurity Problems” in Barron’s Online

Washington, D.C. (02/01/2022) – In a piece that posted on Barron’s Online today, Chuck Brooks, a professor in Georgetown’s graduate Cyber Risk Management program outlines the risks that proposals like the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) pose to cyber and national security, stating the “Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Communities, and other relevant national security committees in the House and Senate should be called upon to determine what implications the proposed legislation and other antitrust legislation may have on morphing cyber-threats.” 

New Antitrust Legislation Could Open the Door to Cybersecurity Problems
Barron’s Online
By Chuck Brooks
February 1, 2022

About the author: Chuck Brooks is president of Brooks Consulting International, and is a professor in the graduate Cyber Risk Management program at Georgetown University.

Congress recently introduced bipartisan antitrust legislation that has raised concern in the national security and cybersecurity communities. Large tech companies are claiming that the legislation may undermine user cybersecurity and privacy if they can download applications straight from the internet onto devices.Congress is considering two pieces of legislation. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) introduced the Open App Markets Act. It is designed to “promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality and reduce costs for consumers.” Sens. Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) sponsored the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prohibit tech platforms from “favoring their own products or services, disadvantaging rivals, or discriminating among businesses that use their platforms in a manner that would materially harm competition on the platform.” These would bring significant changes to smartphone users, notably requiring iPhones and Androids to allow competing app stores on their phones.

Attorneys and various policy interest organizations have weighed in and offered ample arguments in support of, and in opposition to, the proposed legislation. Antitrust law considerations are at the forefront of the debate. However, cybersecurity and national security concerns arise as well. Some companies have even claimed that significant changes allowing access on proprietary digital platforms would increase the risk of malware attacks and privacy breaches. They argue that opening their proprietary mobile operating systems up to third-party alternatives would allow insertion of malware and infiltration by hackers and foreign companies that can potentially jeopardize intellectual property and consumer safety.

Is reducing gatekeeper platform power a wise security action? The proposed legislation’s provisions that mandate equal access to user data do raise valid cybersecurity concerns—and therefore warrant thorough examination…

Read the piece in full here

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