Big Tech rivals clash over US digital commerce


Happy Thursday! It’s a good day to revisit previous Technology 202 research Tonya Riley story about a fertility app that publicly shared user data without consent, claims that drew a federal complaint yesterday.

Below: Montana bans TikTok, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) revolves his work on artificial intelligence. First:

Big Tech rivals clash over US digital commerce

A coalition of technology companies is calling out efforts by the tech giants to shape the United States’ position on digital trade, joining a growing cast of lawmakers and advocacy groups focusing on Big Tech’s role in the Indo-Pacific negotiations.

On Tuesday, companies including email provider Proton, reviews site Yelp and pricing service Kelkoo wrote to the Biden administration expressing concern that Big Tech companies are trying to “block policies that would prohibit their anti-competitive practices” through trade talks.

And on Thursday, they are launching a public campaign urging public officials to reject what they call attempts by their Silicon Valley rivals to “override democratically adopted antitrust laws.”

They become the latest participants in the increasingly contentious debate over digital commerce, which has emerged as a proxy battle in wider global efforts to curb giants such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Meta.

US negotiators have spent months trying to hash out trade terms with 13 other countries, including Japan, North Korea and Australia, one of the first major tests of the administration’s approach to issues including digital trade policy.

The companies took issue with what they called a “lack of transparency” around the talks, writing in their letter to the Commerce Department and US Trade Representative (USTR) that it “allowed the views of a few digital companies to dominating, while the small and medium-sized tech companies that are the backbone of the industry are largely excluded from the process.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and a host of consumer advocacy groups have echoed the concerns in recent weeks:

  • A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to USTR and Commerce last month expressing concern about industry efforts to “weaponize these digital trade rules” to prevent tech regulation worldwide, as we wrote.
  • A group of Republican lawmakers sent a similar letter this month urging the Biden administration not to adopt a proposal in its Indo-Pacific trade talks “that binds the United States to competition policies that Congress could soon reject,” as Bloomberg News reported.
  • A coalition of consumer advocacy groups called on Commerce and USTR in March “not to replicate the conditions favored by Big-Tech,” as we wrote.

The issue has now mobilized many of the same lawmakers, lawyers and smaller tech companies — including Proton and Yelp — who unsuccessfully lobbied the last Congress to pass major antitrust legislation targeting tech giants.

USTR spokesman Sam Michel said in a statement that its Indo-Pacific trade framework “includes high-standard provisions designed to promote inclusive, sustainable growth in the digital economy, including online consumer protection.”

“Ambassador Tai has always said that we need to expand the policy conversation to include diverse perspectives, not just those who can afford Washington lobbyists,” Michel said, adding that the agency has held many briefings with lawmakers and outside groups .

The Department of Commerce referred an investigation into the latest letter to USTR.

Tech industry groups representing some of the industry’s largest companies have called on the administration to ensure that its digital trade policies address potential economic barriers to US tech companies abroad.

Jonathan McHalevice president of digital commerce for the trade group Computer & Communications Industry Association, said in a March statement that the talks should “prioritize developing enforcement rules that can counter trade-distorting practices, rather than embracing perceived fears for digitization in general to justify new trade restrictions.”

The group includes Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta as members. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

While critics cite the role of the tech giants in the trade process, some business groups have taken the opposite tack, targeting what they called efforts by Big Tech antagonists within the administration to shape the negotiations.

“Digital trade provisions ensure that foreign governments do not erect trade barriers that exclude American workers and businesses that rely on data flows to deliver products and services,” the Chamber of Commerce wrote in a recent letter to the White House.

Christine BannAmerican public policy manager for Proton, said that argument is contrary to the very purpose of the trade negotiations.

“Protectionism is fundamentally opposed to free trade, and negotiating agreements to protect national companies at the expense of others … is simply inconsistent with the … stated goal of free trade,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

Schumer ratchets focus on AI legislation

Schumer, the Senate majority leader, is stepping up his efforts to develop a legislative framework for AI tools, hosting meetings with key lawmakers and a top researcher this week, your host reports.

Schumer met on Wednesday with sen. Mike Runes (RS.D.), Todd de Jong (R-Ind.) and Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), three lawmakers active in AI regulatory discussions, to talk about their “emerging bipartisan group focused on comprehensive AI legislation,” according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talk.

Schumer recently announced plans to develop a legislative framework on AI as interest in the technology has increased in Washington amid the booming popularity of tools like ChatGPT.

Former Google researcher Geoffrey Hintonknown as the godfather of AI for his pioneering work in the field, separately said that on Wednesday he met with Schumer’s team, my colleague Gerrit De Vynck reports for The Technology 202 .

Hinton recently retired from Google to allow himself to speak out about the risks of AI, which he said included both short-term problems like injecting more bias into our technology and longer-term concerns like machines becoming smarter than humans and an existential pose a threat to our species.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed a blanket ban on the sale and use of TikTok on Wednesday, becoming the first state to do so over fears the popular video-sharing app could expose US user data to China, as my colleague Erica Werner reports.

Gianforte said the legislation would “protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being collected by the Chinese Communist Party.” While state and federal lawmakers have previously blocked use of the app by government officials, Montana is the first to block it for consumers.

A spokesperson for the app, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, responded by accusing Gianforte of signing a bill “that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by illegally to ban TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people around the world. state.”

A legal challenge is expected.

NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo.

EU to issue record fine to Meta over US data transfers

The European Union is poised to hand Facebook parent company Meta a record fine that tops a fine of more than $800 million it previously handed out to Amazon, Bloomberg News’s Stephanie Bodoni reports.

“Ireland’s data protection commission will punish the social networking giant for failing to follow a high court warning aimed at protecting user data from the prying eyes of US security services once they have been sent to servers across the Atlantic,” according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter. Meta declined to comment to Bloomberg News.

The report advertises, “The regulator, which oversees the EU operations of most Silicon Valley companies, will also order the social network to stop all data transfers to the US that rely on allegedly unsafe contractual clauses that have been questioned by the upper court of the block.”

FTC says popular fertility app gave advertisers pregnancy data without consent (Cyberscoop)

This lawmaker stands out for his AI expertise. Can he help the Congress? (Julian Mark)

IBM, Google Give $150 Million for US-Japan Quantum-Computing Push as China Looms (Wall Street Journal)

Bankman-Fried has long chance to dismiss charges despite Supreme Court decision (Reuters)

Twitter purges inactive accounts including people who have died, angering those still grieving (Associated Press)

A prof falsely accused his class of using ChatGPT. Their diplomas are at risk. (Pranshu Verma)

Epstein-related subpoena for Musk may be served on Tesla, judge rules (Jacob Bogage)

Convicted entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes to report to prison May 30 (Rachel Lerman and Julian Mark)

  • The Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute are co-hosting an event on US outbound investment regulation at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Federal Communications Commission will hold its May open meeting at 10:30 a.m
  • The Federal Trade Commission will hold its May open meeting at 11 a.m
  • The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discussion titled “Technology Race in Asia: The Capital Cable #71” at 3 p.m.
  • FTC chairman Lina Khan will speak tomorrow at the American Constitution Society National Convention at 9:15 am

Thats all for today – thank you very much for joining us! Make sure you tell others to subscribe The Technology 202 over here. Get in touch with tips, feedback or greetings Twitter or email.

Source link

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *