The Seasons Are Changing But S. 2992 Has Not; Continues to be Deeply Flawed

Washington, D.C (09/6/2022) – The leaves are changing, the pumpkins are ripening, and schools are resuming as Congress returns to Washington D.C. for the September session, but S. 2992 continues to be a deeply flawed and misguided piece of legislation. 

Here are seven reasons why the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, S. 2992, is still not ready for primetime, even after so much time has passed. 

  1. The American people don’t want it. Data shows that 58% of Americans believe such laws could end up hurting consumers. Another poll found that 68% of Americans view inflation as the most important issue at the moment, while only 3% view regulation of large businesses as a priority. At the same time, 75% of experts polled by the University of Chicago either disagree or strongly disagree that additional antitrust legislation could help reduce inflation.
  2. Not enough senators support it. The Majority Leader said there are not sixty votes to support S. 2992, the threshold needed to overcome a filibuster. His office has continued to confirm there is lack of support for the bill, saying the Majority Leader is working with the bill sponsors to gather the necessary votes.
  3. The bill’s sponsors have been slow to respond to concerns about it. Nine months ago, bipartisan members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed deep and widespread concerns about the bill, highlighting the many issues experts from the national security, cybersecurity, and consumer advocacy communities have and continued to raise. To date, there is little evidence the bill’s sponsors have made progress to address these concerns, including with the introduction of a manager’s amendment that left most issues unresolved.
  4. Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on key parts of it – including content moderation. In their attempts to garner support, the bill’s sponsors have struck “an awkward compromise.” For example, four Democratic senators have written a letter asking for the bill’s key sponsor, Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN), to fix one portion of the bill that they say would limit companies’ ability to moderate content. Republicans have said such changes are “a nonstarter.”
  1. The national security community has deep reservations about it. A letter to Congress signed by several prominent national security officials noted that House and Senate antitrust bills would “damage the capability of U.S. technology companies to roll out integrated security tools…weakening security measures…in device and platform operating systems.” It would also make it harder for U.S. companies to compete with state-owned companies in countries like China and Russia. 
  1. Cybersecurity experts have significant concerns about it. S. 2992 weakens cybersecurity protections and data privacy for American consumers. Right now, online platforms can remove harmful software that compromises user date. According to The App Association, S. 2992 “would essentially prohibit software platforms from removing bad actors,” making consumers less likely to download applications from smaller companies without public profiles and hurting the marketplace.
  1. American consumers really like the very products the bill targets. S. 2992 would break popular, free digital services that Americans like and use often, such as Google Maps and Google Search. It would also break Amazon Prime’s popular, two-day delivery. According to a poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Axis research, after learning S. 2992 would negatively impact the free and inexpensive products Americans love, 79% of Republicans, 59% of Democrats, and 72% of Independents either “strongly opposed or somewhat opposed” S. 2992.

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