Human rights activists call for action against Big Tech

Thirty civil society organizations issued an open statement calling on the US Congress to address “Big Tech’s concentration of power.”

Organizations asked to enact the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act.

According to the statement, these bills have the power to hold US corporations like Alphabet, Meta, Apple, and Amazon accountable for "failing to keep people safe online, and put an end to their reign of data abuse and surveillance."

"From dangerous disinformation that poisons democracy, foments violence, and undermines public health to the weaponization of sensitive data against marginalized communities, Big Tech is responsible for violating human rights and exacerbating inequalities globally," the statement reads.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is antitrust legislation that aims to prevent Big Tech companies from self-preferencing their products, intentionally disadvantaging other firms' products or services, and interfering with pricing decisions set by another business user.

The Open App Markets Act is another bill proposed in the US Congress that aims to protect the ability to sideload apps and prevent operators of app marketplaces from self-preferencing their products.

"No matter how harmful Big Tech's impact is on the society around the world, they know their real customers — advertisers — will keep coming back. They also know that their users will stay since they have nowhere else to go. Big Tech owns the world's eyeballs, and, with no competition to challenge and offer a way out from their abusive practices, they won't change their ways unless regulation ends their dominance," the statement reads.

Signees believe that the legislation would address disinformation, hate, data abuse, and surveillance, among other issues fueled, as the statement reads, by Big Tech.

Recently, giant tech corporations have been under increasing scrutiny regarding their operations. For example, the UK said it was consulting on launching an investigation into Apple and Google's market power and taking enforcement action against Google concerning its app store payment practices.

In June, Germany took action against Google for its global mapping service that could unfairly disadvantage competitors.

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