Senate Judiciary Committee to Mark Up Legislation Experts Say Would Greatly Harm Americans

National security experts, small business and consumer advocates have all raised concerns with S. 2992

Washington, D.C. (01/18/2022) – As the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to mark up S. 2992 this week, experts from the national security, technology and innovation, and consumer and small business sectors have all expressed concerns with the bill and outlined its harmful effects. 

Twelve former national security officials, including former directors of the CIA and a former Director of National Intelligence, recently sounded the alarm around the national security implications of this and other congressional proposals, saying:

“Recent congressional antitrust proposals that target specific American technology firms would degrade critical R&D priorities, allow foreign competitors to displace leaders in the U.S. tech sector both at home and abroad, and potentially put sensitive U.S. data and IP in the hands of Beijing.”

Experts have also expressed concerns that these bills would jeopardize security measures that help keep Americans’ data private and their online experience safe.

“This bill creates an environment on our mobile devices that is much more prone to viruses and hack.” – NetChoice

“The legislation would render most platform-level privacy measures illegal and force platforms to accept an app’s access to personal information. This text would greatly inhibit a developer’s ability to use privacy measures as a competitive advantage and could reduce consumer trust in platform curation.” – ACT, The App Association.

Consumer advocates are also concerned these bills would threaten the tools that small businesses use every day to reach customers, build trust, and drive growth. 

“The extreme legal risk created by such proposals will make it difficult for small businesses to access online marketplaces, which have been vital for their growth and success. These online marketplaces and platforms not only provided lifelines to small businesses during the pandemic, but also provided the opportunity for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to access the pool of consumers and enjoy the free or low-cost online tools and services these marketplaces offer.” – Krisztina Pusok, American Consumer Institute.

Even a cosponsor of the legislation, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), demonstrated how the bill could advantage China and the rushed process could result in unforeseen consequences in a recent interview: 

“I am kind of macropicture concerned that if we completely disable these mostly American-based enterprises that they would simply be replaced [by] Baidu and Tencent and Alibaba…But we’ve seen that the tech world in China in collaboration with the Communist Party create a surveillance state that would make Orwell blush, so yes we have to be careful about what happens if we don’t want to turn off the American companies and cede the field to the Chinese…

“Unfortunately, our process has broken down a lot, where bills are skipped over the committee process and brought directly to the floor, sometimes without enough debate, and you consequently end up with products and sometimes bills that have got unforeseen consequences. My hope is we go down this potential antitrust process–and I’m not at the extreme end of the antitrust process–I do feel like a complete breakup might cede the field to some of these Chinese firms.” – U.S. Senator Mark Warner, interview with Alex Kantrowitz on the Big Technology Podcast. 

Learn more about how S. 2992 will harm Americans here

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