WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Industry Leaders, Consumer Advocates Praise Cicilline’s Efforts to Build A Stronger Online Economy

Jun 14, 2021 Issues: Consumer Protection and Financial Reform

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar: “The legislation introduced today in the House represents an important step forward in creating an innovative, digital economy that works for all Americans. In addition to updating our antitrust laws for the twenty-first century, it is vital to set clear rules of the road for big tech platforms to ensure that consumers are treated fairly and online businesses have an opportunity to innovate and thrive. I was also pleased to see a House companion to the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act – we need to give our antitrust enforcers additional resources to enable them to take on some of the biggest companies in the world. I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the House on these issues, and I look forward to continuing to work with members of the House and Senate to rein in the unfettered power of Big Tech.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Barry Lynn, Executive Director, Open Markets Institute: “The American people delivered a simple message to Big Tech today. Through Congress, we served notice that we intend to break or neutralize all private corporate power on the internet that threatens our democracy, our communities, our families, and our livelihoods. Chairman Cicilline and the other members of the subcommittee demonstrated true leadership in developing this strong legislation able to attract bipartisan support. These bills will serve as the cornerstone of our common national effort to establish rules of the road for how we share information and do business in the 21st century.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Electronic Frontier Foundation: “When it comes to online services, there are a few very large companies whose gravitational effects can alter the entire tech universe. Their size, power, and diverse levers of control mean that there is no single solution that will put right that which they’ve thrown out of balance. One thing is clear—having such large companies with control over so much of our data is not working for users, not working for privacy or freedom of expression, and it’s blocking the normal flow of competition. These giants need to be prevented from using their tremendous power to just buy up competitors, so that they have to actually compete, and so that new competitors are not incentivized to just be be acquired. Above all, these giants need to be pushed to make it easy for users to leave, or to use other tools to interact with their data without leaving entirely. In recognition of this reality, the House Judiciary Committee has released a number of proposed laws which would reign in the largest players in the tech space in order to make a healthier, more competitive internet ecosystem.” [Post, 6/11/21]

Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance: “The introduction of this legislation marks a major step forward in the effort to break the monopolistic grip of Big Tech and safeguard our economy and democracy. Amazon and the other tech giants cannot be allowed to continue to wield extraordinary unchecked power, which they use to crush independent businesses, exploit working people, and harm communities. This is a problem that only Congress can solve. After decades of lax federal enforcement and pro-corporate judicial decisions, the tech giants have amassed more power, wealth, and control than private corporations have had at any period in our history. They constitute a fundamental threat to democracy and liberty.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern School of Business: “Jesus. Christ. Finally.” [Tweet, 6/11/21]

Michael Kades, Director of Markets and Competition Policy, Washington Center for Equitable Growth: “A momentous day with bipartisan bills being introduce to grapple with competition and digital platforms. The four tech-related bills all address serious problems that deserve attention. Excellent work by @davidcicilline and @RepKenBuck and their staffs.” [Tweet, 6/11/21]

Roku: “Roku applauds Reps. David Cicilline and Ken Buck for taking a crucial step toward curbing the predatory and anticompetitive behaviors of some of the country’s most powerful companies. Roku has firsthand experience competing against and interacting with these monopolists, and we’ve seen how they flagrantly ignore antitrust laws and harm consumers by leveraging their dominance in one line of business to stifle competition in another. An aggressive set of reforms is needed to prevent a future where these monopolists further abuse consumer choice and hamper access to innovative and independent products.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge: “We are losing the promise of the internet as powerful gatekeepers control access to increasingly wider swaths of online activity. Under this legislation, the FTC and DOJ will be equipped with the most effective tools yet to break open the gates. People should be free to bring new ideas to market and to choose something different when they’re frustrated with misinformation, privacy violations, or worker abuse. These potent bills are a turning point in the ongoing fight to rein in Big Tech.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen: “Big Tech’s unchecked growth and dominance have led to incredible abuses of power that have hurt consumers, workers, small businesses and innovation. That unchecked power ends now. This bipartisan package is a huge step toward finally holding these abusive and dominant Big Tech companies accountable and stop them from abusing their monopoly power in nearly every aspect of their businesses. Monopoly power lowers wages, reduces innovation and entrepreneurship, undermines the free press, and perpetuates toxic systems of racial and class dominance. These reforms would check Big Tech’s overwhelming power by breaking up the tech giants, prevent them from gobbling up competitors and require them to play fairly with competitors. Big Tech should see this for what it is: Congress sending a clear message that the party is finally over for them.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Horacio Gutierrez, Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Spotify: “Gatekeeper platforms’ anticompetitive practices have gone unchecked for too long, stifling competition and threatening innovation. The introduction of The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is an important step in addressing anti-competitive conduct in the App Store ecosystem, and a clear sign that momentum has shifted as the world is waking up to the need to demand fair competition in the App economy. Spotify commends this bipartisan effort to ensure true consumer choice and a level playing field for all developers.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Meghan DiMuzio, Executive Director of the Coalition for App Fairness: “We applaud Representatives Cicilline and Buck for their commitment to fair markets and consumers. This bipartisan legislation is an important step as momentum builds to hold platforms accountable for their anticompetitive behavior. We look forward to working with leaders in both parties to ensure reform efforts directly and fully address the monopolistic practices of app store providers and create a fair digital marketplace for American businesses and consumers.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Sumit Sharma, Senior Researcher, Tech Competition at Consumer Reports: “As consumers and citizens, we increasingly depend on technology and online platforms for our information, communications and commerce. A few online platforms dominate all these spheres given their large scale, network effects, financial power and the ability to set rules for the marketplaces they operate in. Addressing this market power requires new rules to enable a market structure where competition can emerge and grow, and to ensure that large platforms operate consistently with a duty of care for consumers. These bills include market rules that would do exactly that.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

New York Post: “Friday saw the introduction of five bipartisan bills to address the abusive, anticompetitive behavior of Google, Amazon and other Big Tech firms. It’ll be a long slog to passage of actual laws, but it’s a key step toward fairness, freedom and a stronger US economy.” [Editorial, 6/11/21]

Vox: “These days, it’s hard to get Democrats and Republicans in Congress to agree on anything. So it’s notable that Democrats on the Antitrust Subcommittee announced a slew of antitrust legislation today aimed at limiting the power of the tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, specifically — with some bipartisan support from their Republican colleagues. Collectively called ‘A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, and Choice,’ each of the five bills introduced has multiple co-sponsors, including at least one from either side of the aisle.” [Article, 6/11/21]

Anamitra Deb, Senior Director and Gus Rossi, Principal, Responsible Technology, Omidyar Network: “For too long, Congress appeared almost ill-equipped to grapple with the self-proclaimed complexities of the platforms’ rapacious business strategies, seemingly bedazzled by the hip packaging of Silicon Valley “tech wizards” who provided an endless stream of new products and services purportedly for free. But these bills now take aim at a number of serious problems identified in the Antitrust Subcommittee’s year-long bipartisan investigation, and described in the Subcommittee report released last October.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

Center for Digital Democracy: “Great work from @davidcicilline and #antitrust committee to place interest of #consumers #competitors #public ahead of US #bigtech #bigdata platforms, like #Facebook #Google #Amazon They introduced five bills today to build #AStrongerOnlineEconomy.” [Tweet, 6/11/21]