Letter: New Powers for Big Tech that Wyden Added to USICA Must Go, Say Consumer, Civil Rights, Anti-Monopoly Groups

Letter: New Powers for Big Tech that Wyden Added to USICA Must Go

May 28, 2021

U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators:

We, the undersigned groups interested in bringing accountability to the technology industry, strongly urge you to ensure that Sections 7111, 7112, and 7113 of the Wyden COMPETES Act amendment to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act are not included in the final legislation the Senate will consider.

This amendment designates a hands-off approach to Big Tech governance as an “American Value,” requires U.S. trade officials to punish other countries that seek to break up Big Tech monopolies; protect the rights of gig workers; safeguard consumers’ privacy rights; prevent algorithms and other artificial intelligence from discriminating against protected classes; secure online safety and privacy for children; ensure robust civil rights protection and enforcement; or otherwise regulate digital entities, and establishes new tools to do so. This amendment would require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to become an agent of Big Tech, continually monitoring other nations’ existing and proposed digital governance policies to undermine important pro-consumer, pro-worker, pro-privacy, pro-competitive and pro-fair-business-practices policies and proposals.

Any measure such as this one, which would enact a major new U.S. policy of extending the powerful enforcement tools of Section 301 to target specific policies worldwide, and especially one on a subject on which numerous members of Congress and committee are currently legislating, should be subject to broad debate and a markup, not slipped into unrelated legislation as a surprise amendment.

Other aspects of the Wyden COMPETES amendment, for instance regarding forced labor, are appropriate for a bill focused on trade and competitiveness. But we believe that Sections 7111-7113, the technology language of the amendment, must go.

We respectfully ask you to ensure that Sections 7111, 7112, and 7113 are not included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, and we look forward to working with you in the future to develop digital governance policies that benefit American workers, consumers, and small businesses.

 

Sincerely,

Athena
Alliance to Counter Crime Online
American Economic Liberties Project
Color of Change
Decode Democracy
Fight Corporate Monopolies
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Jobs With Justice
Public Citizen
Public Knowledge
Ranking Digital Rights
UltraViolet