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Apple, Google Say US Antitrust Bills Would Harm User Privacy And Security Amid Bipartisan Effort To Rein In Big Tech

Apple and Google cautioned US senators on Tuesday that bipartisan antitrust measures aimed at limiting the influence of big internet firms would jeopardize customers’ privacy and security. Apple addressed a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, the panel’s senior Republican, Chuck Grassley, Antitrust Subcommittee Chair Amy Klobuchar, and the subcommittee’s top Republican, Mike Lee, escalating their opposition to the bill. Apple’s desire to shield its App Store from government supervision and reforms that would upset its economic model is highlighted in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Courtesy: Flipboard

“It would be ironic if Congress responds by making it much harder to protect the privacy and security of Americans’ personal devices after a tumultuous year that saw multiple controversies regarding social media, whistle-blower allegations of long-ignored risks to children, and ransomware attacks that crippled critical infrastructure,” Tim Powderly, Apple’s senior director of government affairs, wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, these bills would do that.”

In a blog post, Alphabet Inc’s Google slammed the legislation, claiming it will stifle popular services like Google Search and Gmail. Google, like Apple, believes the bills under discussion will impede security and privacy, affecting consumers. The first law addressed in Apple’s letter – legislation sponsored by Klobuchar and Grassley – would require minor adjustments to leading tech platforms, according to Apple, allowing iPhone and iPad owners to sideload software from outside the App Store.

If the measure passes, sideloading would jeopardize fundamental aspects of Apple’s economic model. It would make collecting Apple’s 15% to 30% App Store commission difficult or impossible, and it would jeopardize the company’s privacy and security policies.

Klobuchar’s spokesman refuted the notion that the bill would jeopardize security.

The bill “does not compel Apple to enable unscreened apps onto Apple devices,” according to the representative. “All of Apple’s claims about’sideloading’ are actually just a desperate attempt to keep their app store monopoly, which they exploit to demand extortionate fees to firms they compete with.”

According to the spokesman, Apple is a multibillion-dollar corporation that is “more than capable of preserving privacy and security while yet providing consumers with greater choice by permitting competition.”

There is bipartisan support for legislation to challenge the market power of America’s largest tech giants. Despite the fact that congressional leaders have turned their attention elsewhere, an antitrust measure aimed at internet behemoths may become more appealing as other Democratic initiatives stagnate and the window for securing legislative victories before the November midterm elections expires.

Google claims that the proposed legislation will make its services less useful and secure, so “harming American competitiveness.” In a blog post, Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker stated, “We’re profoundly concerned about these unexpected implications.”

The Klobuchar-Grassley bill was backed by a group of smaller tech companies on Tuesday, who said it would “help restore competition in the digital economy and remove impediments for customers to chose the services they desire.”

The Klobuchar-Grassley measure would make it illegal for companies to provide their own goods an advantage over those of smaller competitors who rely on their platforms. Consumer access to popular products like as Apple Music, Google Maps, and Amazon Prime would be significantly altered, according to critics of the proposal.

The bills, according to Apple, “erect extraordinarily severe impediments” to the business implementing new privacy safeguards. The legislation would also put the business’s new App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires users to agree whether apps can monitor them across other apps and websites, “in peril,” according to the company.

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