Kennedy, Klobuchar, Grassley introduce American Innovation and Choice Online Act to rein in Big Tech
Oct 18 2021
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing the American Innovation and Choice Online Act to stop Big Tech from limiting consumer choice. The bill would help restore competition online by establishing commonsense rules of the road for dominant digital platforms to prevent them from abusing their market power to harm competition, online businesses and consumers and from reducing incentives to innovate.
“Big Tech has a track record of unfairly limiting consumer choices and thwarting free-market competition. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would help offer consumers more options at competitive prices from businesses online, which is what the American economy is supposed to do best,” said Kennedy.
“American prosperity was built on a foundation of open markets and fair competition, but right now our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price. 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. This bill will do just that, while also providing consumers with the benefit of greater choice online. I’m proud to introduce this much-needed legislation alongside Senator Grassley, Chair Durbin, and a bipartisan group of our colleagues, and I look forward to it passing the Senate and being signed into law,” said Klobuchar.
“As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up and ensure these companies are competing fairly. These companies have continued to become a larger part of our everyday lives and the global economy, controlling what we see and how we engage on the internet. Big Tech needs to be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner. Our bill will help create a more even playing field and ensure that small businesses are able to compete with these platforms,” said Grassley.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would set clear, effective rules to protect competition and users doing business on dominant online platforms.
The bill would prohibit dominant platforms from abusing their gatekeeper power by favoring their own products or services, disadvantaging rivals or discriminating among businesses that use their platforms in a way that harms competition on the platform.
It would also prohibit specific forms of conduct that are harmful to small businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers, but that do not have any pro-competitive benefit, including:
- Preventing another business’s product or service from interoperating with the dominant platform or another business;
- Requiring a business to buy a dominant platform’s goods or services for preferred placement on its platform;
- Misusing a business’s data to compete against it; and
- Biasing search results in favor of the dominant firm.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would give antitrust enforcers strong, flexible tools to deter violations and hold dominant platforms accountable when they engage in illegal behavior.
The bill would keep the most economically significant online platforms—ones with large U.S. user bases that function as “critical trading partners” for online businesses—from self-preferencing and discriminatory conduct.
This American Innovation and Choice Online Act is cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
Text of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is available here.