R Street Institute Report Details Better Approach to Tech Policy
Amidst a struggling economy, global pandemic, a supply chain crisis, and record deficits, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are spending quite a lot of time going after America’s tech companies. The latest iteration of this trend is the introduction of a pair of antitrust bills in the House of Representatives. However, like most of the efforts to go after these companies, the new regulations would come with a whole host of unintended consequences. The R Street Institute recently released a report detailing the issues with these bills, along with recommendations for a better approach.
These pieces of antitrust legislation would be a disaster for the state of cybersecurity. The reason digital marketplaces like app stores are safe and secure is because of the ability of companies to screen entrants. However, without that ability, weeding out bad actors becomes nearly impossible. Companies like Apple need to be gatekeepers to maintain trust on their platform.
However, the bills would treat many security protocols as antitrust violations under the proposed framework. For example, with language like found in these bills, any third party would be allowed on iPhones without having to go through the App Store. In these cases, Apple can’t create any safety assurances. Third party app developers are screened not to prevent competition, but to safeguard against data breaches and to build reliability with consumers.
The rest of the report details how each bill casts a net far too wide. Provisions supposedly meant to prevent tech companies from impeding competition would, in reality, limit their ability to take down malicious actors. The report goes into detail about how each bill can be amended or improved to avoid these egregious consequences. Given the number of significant hacks and other cyberattacks in the last year, it is critical that eCongress not actively undermine effective cybersecurity practices.
You can view the full PDF report HERE.