A group of privacy-focused organizations has signed a letter pleading with Congressional leaders to schedule a vote on a bill that would impede data collection by tech giants and promote users’ access to online privacy tools.
in his letter (opens in new tab) to Congress, addressed to the likes of Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, the alliance argued that the continued suppression of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) (opens in new tab) enables “dominant companies” to “limit competition and limit user choice” when accessing privacy-focused technologies and products.
It also accused tech giants of forcing users to accept their policies of “eternal surveillance” because of their position as “gatekeepers”, and of using their “influence in society” to divert users away from competing services that are more are committed to privacy.
Online Privacy in the US
Signatories included DuckDuckGo, Proton, Brave and Mozilla, representing industries ranging from VPN and search to web browsers, office software and more.
The letter to Congress fighting for the revival of the AICOA hit back at the idea that the US tech industry is a free market. The 13 signatories, all of whom are relatively small in stature, argue that the tech giants are deliberately using the depth and breadth of their product portfolios to establish unassailable monopolies.
However, the resources and lobbying power available to companies such as Google and Meta often put the economic interests of companies ahead of the online privacy of the people who use their platforms.
In this case, the bill poses a direct threat to the ability of major tech companies to collect data and quell pressures on online privacy in the US. because the thirteen-strong collective does not have the same resources.
As a result, the AICOA is unlikely to be questioned, much less likely to be passed before the November midterms, by a House of Representatives with a narrow Democratic majority of nine and an evenly split Senate. As for the fate of the bill after the midterms, time will tell.
TechRadar Pro has asked Meta and Google for a response to the letter to Congress.