For Immediate Release
January 20, 2022
Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich released the following statement Thursday:
“Thursday afternoon, with an overwhelming 16-6 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prohibit dominant gatekeepers from self-dealing and rigging marketplaces to entrench their monopoly power. The critical vote served as a forceful bipartisan message to Big Tech executives and lobbyists in the face of their frenzied and dishonest campaign to sink the bill. And it capped a historic week of progress for tech accountability on both sides of the Atlantic.
“On Tuesday, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) – whose district includes Silicon Valley – along with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the landmark Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, which takes direct aim at Big Tech’s toxic business model. This legislation would upend the perverse incentive structure that has eroded our consensus reality and pushed our democracy to the bring, as social media giants amplify extreme content to maximize engagement and profits.
“The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act not only made a dramatic impact here in the US, but also in Europe, where transatlantic momentum helped propel an unlikely 11th hour victory. A slew of NGOs and MEPs cited the new bill in making their final pitch Wednesday for long-shot amendments to the Digital Services Act that would significantly curtail surveillance advertising. Those measures were adopted before Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the DSA – a sweeping overhaul of digital governance rules that would also require platforms to open the black box of algorithmic recommender systems, provide access to data for researchers, conduct risk assessments and mitigation with independent audits, expand transparency around content moderation, and much more.
“There is a long road ahead to enshrine these proposals into law, and to enact the full suite of structural reforms that this moment demands, but this was a week of tremendous progress toward holding Big Tech accountable.”