The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at reigning in Big Tech, is receiving criticism from an unlikely source.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act was introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Grassley, and John Kennedy as an effort to reign in Big Tech’s influence. In particular, the bill would prevent Big Tech companies from favoring their own services and products.
“As dominant digital platforms—some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen—increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace,” said Klobuchar, when announcing the bill.
The industry is predictably divided on the bill, with startups praising it and Big Tech companies opposed. With the bill passing the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, it is also receiving criticism from the Independent Women’s Voice.
“The days of innovative services making it easier to live, work, and do business, especially during a pandemic, could be numbered if the American Innovation and Choice Online Act passes the full Senate,” said Patrice Onwuka, a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice, in a statement to WPN. “Today’s affirmative committee vote is very troubling because this bill is not about protecting competition in America, but expanding regulatory control over a handful of large tech corporations, even if to the detriment of consumers.”
The organization is concerned the bill will make it much harder for women-owned businesses to find the services they need to effectively function.
“Senators Klobuchar and Grassley acknowledged the issues with their ill-conceived legislation by introducing a manager’s amendment that does nothing to address substantive concerns from across the political spectrum,” Onwuka continues. “As written, convenient, cost-saving, and secure services from Google Maps in search results to Amazon Prime would effectively be banned. The impacts for women are easy to imagine. Women business owners who depend on a variety of services to find customers, target their goods and services to the right audience, and carry out their business functions would be left in the cold.”
It remains to be seen if the bill will pass the Senate, but it’s clear there are many questions and concerns about the real-world implications if it does — concerns that reach far beyond the Big Tech companies the bill targets.