A lax antitrust bill passed by the Senate has attracted criticism from all sides of the political spectrum. It has also received support from both major political parties as Democrats and Republicans vie to be the best at Big Tech.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which passed a Senate committee vote yesterday, is the brainchild of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.). She refuses to entertain any pretense of plotting other than the punishment of some tech companies.
Historically, antitrust law—which theoretically prevents unfair and monopolistic business practices—has been concerned with particular actions (say, price fixing) and whether these actions harm consumers. Both of those plans were eliminated by the new bill.
Instead of covering all businesses that might engage in a prohibited behavior—in this case, giving preferential treatment to one’s own products—it’s targeted squarely at a few companies concentrated in one industry. These rules would apply even to big-box retailers, such as Walmart and Target.
Also, the bill rejects the belief that consumers are the main purpose of antitrust law enforcement. Numerous people raised concerns that the bill might lead to lower prices or even eliminate some consumer products they love. But supporters of the bill have balked at the idea that this is a problem—because their goal isn’t protecting consumers, it’s punishing a few disfavored companies.
An aide to Senator Grassley said that if we made carveouts for every pro-consumer feature, the bill would be null. https://t.co/QU2KhuJg7O
— Daniel Castro (@castrotech) January 14, 2022
See, for instance, onetime supporter of tort reform Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) now championing a private right of action to sue tech companiesIf they prefer their products. Amazon promotes its own battery brand. It should be a federal matter! Sigh…
Or Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.Or Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo. makes no bones aboutHis desire to focus on Big Tech companies in particular.
The bill does not actually contain any bills. Name certain companies. However, it is not a common practice. structured in such a wayThis will apply only to some major tech companies. The political rhetoric has focused on the risks of Big Tech.
The targeted nature of this bill alone should be enough to make us all wary—no matter your feelings toward Google, Apple, etc., it’s a slippery slope to let Congress write legislation specifically targeted at companies it doesn’t like. However, there are plenty of reasons you should oppose the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
I have previously written about the flaws of this bill. Americans for Tax Reform and Free Press provide more detailed information and specific complaints.
Yesterday’s markup saw “15 senators from both sides voiced concerns over privacy, security and data transfers to China. The FTC discretion was granted and their effect on consumers and small businesses.” notesAsheesh Agarwal was an advisor for the American Edge Project. As they attempted to address concerns, many complained that there was not enough hearing.
Because things work together and are smooth, the Internet’s madness works quite well. …some of that important integration is self-preferencing. Google searches for restaurants bring up a map. This is a benefit to me as a customer. Amazon automatically selects the Prime-eligible product when I shop for goods online. This would be against the law. noted Kennesaw State University professor Brian Albrecht.
A section of the bill states that it would be difficult for companies covered by the bill to take down any business which traffics in hateful, or other harmful content. tweetedNora Benavidez is the director of digital justice at Free Press. “Ripe to abuse down the chain and I worry about what state AGs or future FTC officers will do.”
This bill could be easily used to “deter content moderation,” especially by highly politicized individuals [Federal Trade Commission]TechFreedom warned that it is. “IIt opens up to lawsuits over Daily Stormer, Breitbart and others. Should rank higher in newsfeeds” notedStanford’s Daphne Keller.
At yesterday’s Judiciary Committee markup of the bill—for which 107 amendments were filed—some senators complained about the lack of previous hearing on the bill and worried about the effect it would have on small businesses and user privacy, among other things.
This legislation “It is specifically targeted at a few specific companies. Most of these are located in my state.” commented Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.). “It is difficult to justify a bill that restricts only certain companies’ behavior while permitting everyone else to engage in the exact same behaviour.
Feinstein expressed concern that Feinstein might be a victim of the alleged extortion. “Requiring businesses to reduce protections currently in place and instead permit hackers and others to access devices.” More security issues here.
It is important to note that the current antitrust law permits courts to look at these pro-competitive justifications in determining whether conduct has been violated. This bill simply makes it illegal to practice anti-competitive practices, and ignores any pro-competitive benefits. https://t.co/DKPS2rVrHc
— Jeffrey Westling (@jeffreywestling) January 20, 2022
Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) said the bill would wreak too much “collateral damage” and “may actually entrench the very four companies at which it is aimed by creating a strong incentive to simply cease doing any business with third parties. It could result in the demise of thousands of small business and could even worsen competition on online marketplaces.
But despite strong skepticism from some committee members, the bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 16–6 vote—with Feinstein ultimately voting For it. Lee, together with Sens, voted against. John Cornyn (R–Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tom Cotton (R–Ark.), Thom Tillis (R–N.C.), and Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.).
There were several amendments made to the bill. These included clauses that would have TikTok, WeChat and other American tech companies in their sights.
The Senate will vote on it.
CBD can prevent many problems. [COVID-19] infections,”According to a study that examined COVID-19 (CBD) and cannabis, CBD is the non-psychoactive component in cannabis. Read more Vice:
This is what was described in a Thursday paper in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances A team of 33 researchers from the University of Chicago & University of Louisville contributed to this research, a survey of 1,212 U.S. patients taking prescribed CBD found that people taking 100 milligrams-per-milliliter oral doses of CBD returned positive COVID-19 tests at much lower rates than control groups with similar medical backgrounds who did not take CBD.
All of the patients in the study had seizure-related disorders, for which CBD was often prescribed. In this study, only 6.2 per cent of the patients had positive COVID-19 test results. This compares to 8.9 per cent in the control group. A smaller number of patients, who had likely taken CBD CBD before their COVID-19 tests, experienced a stronger effect: only 4.9 percent became COVID-19-infected, as compared with 9 percent for the control.
This complete study is available here.
California’s gun owners are being threatened with privacy.Courthouse News Service reports
Federal Judge Wednesday refused to stop California from enacting Assembly Bill 173.
U.S. District judge Larry Alan Burns heard arguments from Jane and John Does, and Rob Bonta about a constitutional challenge of Assembly Bill 173, which amends California firearms laws. It authorizes the attorney general and gun owners to share their personal information with the California Firearm Violence Research Center (UC Davis), and to any “bona fide institution” that meets certain criteria.
Gun owners’ personal information — including their name, address and age — is collected with every firearms sale in California and entered into the “Automated Firearms System” database.
There is a reasonBrian Doherty, a reporter for NBC News, wrote about the issue in September when Governor. Gavin Newsom signed A.B. 173 into law.
• “Biden gets a D Minus on Arming Authoritarians in The Middle East,” notes Spencer Ackerman:
One year ago, the Forum on the Arms Trade rated Biden’s record on exports of arms and associated issues. An example of this is a grade C which means that there has been no net improvement to pre-existing policies that were middle of the road. D stands for “net decline in pre-existing middle of the road policy” or failures to improve on dangerous pre-existing policies.
Biden was also given poor grades for other measures such as the landmine policy and sales of arms to countries at risk.
• An interesting academic freedom case out of Texas:
1. The Federal Court’s ruling in favor of Tim Jackson, a Texas music theory professor, has brought back attention to the tense battle for race and freedom speech in Texas. While the Federal Judge’s decision isn’t the final word, it does suggest a stronger approach. #thread
— Michael Powell (@powellnyt) January 20, 2022
• “Founders and investors—including tech CEOs, crypto billionaires, bloggers, economists, celebrities, and scientists—are coming together to address stasis with experimentation,” reports Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson. The team is building an array of scientific laboratories to accelerate the progress on complex diseases and extend lives. They also plan to uncover nature’s hidden secrets in long-ignored species. They’re also making Silicon Valley’s research funding space one of the most exciting in Silicon Valley.
• The Federal Reserve “released its highly anticipated report on the prospect of minting a central bank digital currency, or CBDC,” notes Forbes. It will “stopp”[ed]It’s not feasible to adopt a position without legislative approval on how it will be implemented.”
• Trumpism on the decline?
A poll by NBC, R voters. Are you more Trump-supporting than the Republicans?
Republican Party 56
Trump’s lowest-ever score in poll history https://t.co/OCTPhGslEa
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) January 20, 2022
• Austrian lawmakers approved a vaccine mandate for all adults.