Washington, D.C. (05/19/2022) – An article published today in Newsweek outlines the concerns from former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson regarding the threat that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) presents to U.S. cybersecurity and how the legislation could require American social media platforms to broadcast propaganda from autocratic leaders in Russia and China.
The Big Tech Battlefield
By: Robert C. O’Brien and Jeh C. Johnson
May 19, 2022
….In addressing concerns around Big Tech, Congress must be careful not to use a saw when other more precise tools will do. Put another way, Congress must not lose sight of the reality that U.S.-based tech companies are today providing open platforms that promote freedom around the world. Despite the best efforts of closed societies such as Russia and China to keep their citizenry in the dark about their malign conduct, Western platforms are a valuable medium for truth in those societies.
Accordingly, we call for a careful national security review of the pending antitrust legislation aimed at Big Tech. Legislation pending in both the House and Senate would require non-discriminatory access to U.S. digital platforms for all “business users,” including foreign ones. This could potentially require U.S. platforms to broadcast the false propaganda of autocratic regimes—a step backward in U.S. efforts to combat harmful foreign disinformation and even attempts by our adversaries to influence our own elections. Other parts of the so-called American Innovation and Choice Online Act would constrain U.S. companies from removing malicious actors and integrating cybersecurity tools to their platforms, possibly leaving U.S. tech infrastructure vulnerable to America’s foreign adversaries. These national security risks have been acknowledged by the legislation’s sponsors. Nevertheless, they have not been addressed as part of any meaningful review of the legislation for their implications to U.S. national security….
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