Google Cautions Businesses About Anti-Tech Legislation

With access to millions of emails and business profiles, Google uses its vast resources to inform businesses about technical legislation via email and numerous websites.

People with Google business profiles, or who use other Google services, may have noticed an email warning them about upcoming legislation that could affect their business.

In addition to emails, Google has written blogs and created websites with the goal of making people aware of the potential consequences of these bills.

Anti-tech bills, such as American Innovation and Choice Act Onlineworking to prevent companies like Google from using their online platforms for discriminatory behaviour.

Google and other big tech companies are mobilizing to torpedo the latest bill.

Google’s grassroots efforts

to me BillHartzer.comThe email states that the bill has “unintended consequences” for businesses that use digital tools like Google Ads, Gmail, Google Analytics and Docs. It also states that it will affect listings in Google Search and Maps.

The email goes on to say that the bill will make it difficult for people to find your work, hurt productivity, and cost you time and money.

Google doesn’t include the name of the invoice in its email, information about where people can read it, or any other identifiable characteristics that readers can use to find it themselves.

This indicates Google’s attempt to craft its own narrative about the proposed bill, rather than encouraging companies to reach their own conclusions by looking for information elsewhere.

What is the American Online Innovation and Choice Act?

The bill is a bipartisan effort aimed at clipping the wings of major online platforms for antitrust and consumer choice violations.

Some of the biggest companies hit by the bill include Apple, Amazon, Meta, and Google.

All are targeted because they have more than 50 million active monthly users (or 100,000 business users), have an annual market capitalization (or US net sales in excess of $550 billion), and serve as an important business partner for business users, according to the bill’s language.

Consumer choice and privacy has long been an issue as companies like Google use consumer data and information for their own purposes.

The bill would allow federal antitrust agencies the ability to issue penalties and civil orders for the following behavior:

  • Unfair preferences for online platform products over other companies.
  • Restriction of products by companies that compete with the platform.
  • Using discriminatory practices in enforcing terms of service that may harm competition.
  • Use non-public data obtained or generated by business users of the Platform to favor Platform products over businesses.
  • Restrict or disable software applications pre-installed on the Platform or change default settings on the Platform that direct people to its own products.
  • Retaliate against users who report their concerns.

The language of the bill is vague, much like the initial language of the UK’s 2018 data protection law that has left many companies scratching their heads over how to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Supporters of the bill say it eliminates discriminatory practices. Critics say it negatively affects consumers and businesses.

Opposition to Google site details

Google’s efforts to block the bill include a website It details the issues and allows people to send letters to the congressman with a pre-written letter opposing the bill.

The site goes into detail about how the bill will affect business including:

  • Delete phone number, address, and business hours from Google Search and Maps.
  • Separate Google Advertising products from each other and Google Analytics.
  • Split Gmail, Docs, and Calendar so they don’t work together anymore.

The website also has a comprehensive FAQ section detailing specific issues such as internet security and list groups that have bill concerns including:

  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • Connected Trade Council
  • US Black Chambers
  • Latin Alliance
  • progress room
  • American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the Asia/Pacific Islands

The site also includes a link to a Google blog where Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Google and Alphabet, goes into detail on Google’s concerns about the bill as well as recent amendments to it.

Do Google’s efforts prove the need for the bill?

Google used its platform and private information to send emails to consumers and businesses to decry opposition to the bill by showing how anti-tech bills could affect them. A one-sided email is as ambiguous as the invoice itself.

By making a one-sided offer to its customers that advances the company’s agenda, does Google demonstrate the need for such a law?

The legislation is designed to protect companies from the iron grip of mega-corporations like Google and Amazon. Google says it does more harm than good.

Ultimately, the decision to pass the bill and its language is up to Congress. Obviously, Google and other companies affected by the bill will continue their efforts to change or eliminate anti-technology bills.

Featured image: max.ku / Shutterstock

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