Lawmakers across the political spectrum agree that something has to be done about Big Tech’s antitrust practices. However, they have expressed concerns over a bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act because it could hinder a platform’s ability to censor.
The bill would make it illegal for tech companies like Amazon and Google to give advantages to their own products, by putting them at the top of search results. It also requires companies to provide competitors with data collected from users.
Tech companies have lobbied against the bill, arguing that limiting their ability to remove or demote competitors could compromise their ability to remove harmful content and that providing competitors with user data could compromise privacy.
Their lobbying efforts seem to be having an impact, Bloomberg reported.
In a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy and Technology, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) said that he appreciates what the bill is “trying to achieve” but it is important to make sure “the language is right.”
“The best example is making sure we’re not inadvertently facilitating hate speech,” he said.
Padilla said terms such as “preferencing” should be clearly defined to make sure consumers are protected and their preferred services are not taken away.
The senator from California, home to most Big Tech companies, also noted that while allowing competitors access to data is a good solution to promote competition, the bill does not prioritize privacy.
Other lawmakers that have expressed concerns about the bill include Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), and Sen Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Despite the concerns, Klobuchar insists on proceeding with the bill.
“We’ve been making changes to the bill all along and we’ve listened to concerns,” she said in an interview. “But let me be clear — this bill is not going to be some watered down version that ends up being a study of the problems with tech.”