Privacy-Focused Technology Companies Call for a Floor Vote on Antitrust Legislation
On Tuesday September 13th, 13 privacy-focused technology companies representing more than 100 million users in the United States published a letter to U.S. Congressional Leadership imploring them to support the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and bring it to a floor vote as soon as possible.
Incessant data collection and tech monopolies are inherently linked: the more data they collect and use to influence user decision making, the stronger their grip on industry becomes, leaving users feeling like they have no option but to accept a lack of privacy to use the Internet. However, users do have choices when it comes to the services they use, and they do not have to accept services that have made it their business to abuse user privacy. If the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) becomes law, millions of Americans will have better access to Internet services with more privacy and less data-driven targeting and manipulation.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Senate Minority Leader
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin U.S. Senator John Thune
Senate Majority Whip Senate Minority Whip
U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House House Minority Leader
U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer U.S. Representative Steve Scalise
House Majority Leader House Minority Whip
RE: Support for S. 2992/H.R. 3816, The American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
Dear U.S. Congressional Leadership:
We, the undersigned privacy companies and organizations, urge Congress to schedule floor votes for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) as soon as possible. This bill has been delayed for far too long and the American public deserves the kind of innovative online ecosystem it would create.
Our companies and organizations offer privacy protective alternatives to the services provided by dominant technology companies. While more and more Americans are embracing privacy-first technologies, some dominant firms still use their gatekeeper power to limit competition and restrict user choice. We implore you to pass AICOA as it would remove barriers for consumers to freely select privacy protective services.
Massive tech platforms can exert influence over society and the digital economy because they ultimately have the power to collect, analyze, and monetize exorbitant amounts of personal information. This is not by accident, as some of the tech giants have intentionally abused their gatekeeper positions to lock users into perpetual surveillance while simultaneously making it difficult to switch to privacy-protective alternatives. These monopolist firms: use manipulative design tactics to steer individuals away from rival services; restrict the ability of competitors to interoperate on the platform; use non-public data to benefit their services or products; and make it impossible or complicated for users to change their default settings or uninstall apps. Such tactics deprive consumers of the innovative offerings an open and vibrant market would yield.
Passage of AICOA is critical to protecting the privacy of American consumers. These self-preferencing tactics keep consumers stuck in an ecosystem of constant tracking by making it needlessly difficult for users to choose alternative privacy-respecting products and services. This is not how a truly free market operates, which is why commonsense reforms are necessary to combat the most egregious anticompetitive tactics and spur innovation that will increase the options available to American consumers. That’s why we support the AICOA and ask that it be scheduled for a vote. The AICOA will improve the internet in many ways and, most importantly, remove barriers that have been erected to block Americans from enjoying more privacy online.
Efani Secure Mobile
[Post updated December 19th, 2022 to reflect the addition of Skiff.]