Senate Judiciary Committee Marking Up Big Tech Bill

Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) (Image credit: Amy Klobuchar)

The Senate Judiciary Committee has moved its scheduled markup of a tough new online antitrust bill from Thursday (Jan. 13) to Jan. 27.

The bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, was introduced back in October by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and a self-described leading antitrust reformer, and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member. It‘s one of many proposed bills to rein in Big Tech, and not the only one backed by Klobuchar.

Also: CCIA Study Asserts Edge Regs Could Be $300 Billion Economic Hit

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would do the following:

CCIA members include Amazon and Google, both of which are clearly in the bill‘s sights. 

“Gerrymandering regulations around a handful of leading businesses will skew competition and leave consumers worse off,” he said, adding: “By hamstringing successful U.S. tech companies without even imposing corresponding obligations on foreign rivals, this shortsighted legislation will put the data and security of U.S. users at risk.”

Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro has said the bill would do irreparable harm to U.S. companies, including by putting them at a disadvantage to China and other nations. “The bill allocates vast new powers to the FTC, allowing the commission to ignore the consumer-welfare standard, while imposing massive fines with minimal due process,” Shapiro said.

The bill allows civil penalties of up to 15% of U.S. revenue for the duration of the violation and authorizes a court to penalize a CEO or corporate officer an amount equal to their compensation for the 12 months preceding or following a complaint. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.