Senator Schumer must push tech reform to spur online innovation (Guest Opinion by Adam Kovacevich)

Adam Kovacevich is an Atlanta-based freelance software developer.

For years, tech companies have regularly brought the future to life in useful ways, bringing the internet to our phones, connecting friends around the world, and making it easier for businesses to sell and for customers to buy. Years ago, as a budding web developer and software engineer, I was interested in technology.

But today, a few dominant tech companies serve as guardians of our online ecosystem, bolstering their own products, undermining smaller competitors, stifling innovation, and threatening the principles of a free and fair market.

In the next few weeks, there is a major opportunity to start changing that. But it’s up to one man to act: Senator Chuck Schumer. Unfortunately, he is missing and time is running out.

The bipartisan US Online Choice and Innovation Act has the votes to pass the US Senate, and it is essential that he does. The bill would limit the power of the biggest tech platforms and prohibit them from “self-preferring” their own products to stifle competition, kill innovation and reduce product quality in the process.

A recent poll conducted in eight purple states last month showed 72% voters in favor of the legislation. Additionally, the bill’s co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said they had the votes to not just pass it, but to smash a filibuster. Considering the polarized times we live in, this is nothing short of a miracle.

If the If the US Online Innovation and Choice Act is not presented to the Senate for a vote in the weeks and months to come, the window for its passage could close for good, and Schumer alone will be to blame.

History will remember Schumer for failing to seize the opportunity to hold these corporate monopolies accountable and for failing to champion a free and fair market at the heart of American business.

Everyone can see that there is less innovation and more stagnation on the Internet today than 10 or 15 years ago. Like the economist James Bessen wrote in the MIT Technology Review, “The problem is not that big companies are preventing startups from entering markets or getting funding; the problem is that large companies use large-scale technologies that make it difficult for startups to grow.

Ultimately, this bill is about protecting the fundamentals of the American Dream and the power of unbridled American ingenuity. It will help developers like me make America the home of innovation from the ground up – a crucial step if we are to win the geopolitical battle for talent, growth and security.

This is why Big Tech is fighting so hard against this bill. They are now de facto nation states, with the four largest tech companies having combined market capitalizations above the GDP great nations. They don’t care about American interests in innovation; they are concerned about their bottom line and they are doing everything in their power to kill the bill.

Big Tech spent an estimated $100 million on scaremongering ads claiming the bill would end iMessage or Amazon Prime, pose a threat to US national security, or even prevent companies from protecting the community. bullying trans. They were caught running on an astroturf country based on the laughable idea that tech reform would hurt small business owners – who would arguably benefit from tech reform more than anyone else.

Over the past few months, Big Tech has sent its CEOs to Washington to lobby against the bill behind closed doors. In July, Schumer made a pilgrimage to Washington State to to encounter with the president of Microsoft to discuss the legislation, and his office was quiet to find out if he took the opportunity to raise campaign funds from tech interests opposed to the bill.

This is all strange, as Schumer has publicly stated his support for the bill on several occasions. In March, Schumer engaged to pass the bill as long as it has the necessary votes to pass (it has). Schumer then Apparently pledged to bring the bill to a vote in early summer. The August holidays are over, and still: nothing.

I’m an indie software developer who’s never really had a knack for politics – I’d rather go backpacking. But even I recognize when something is wrong.

Why doesn’t Schumer call the bill for a vote? I read his children work for Big Tech companies. As one of the Democrats’ top fundraisers, is he afraid of losing Big Tech’s financial support? Does he think the bills will be a political liability?

Last month, Schumer said he planned to introduce the bill on the condition that it get 60 votes. But Grassley said he had personally assured Schumer that he would cross that threshold based on the number of Republican senators who pledged their support. The only thing that has changed since Schumer pledged to hold a vote in March is that Big Tech’s lobbying campaign has become more aggressive.

Schumer has also been on the safe side of these sorts of issues in the past. He was a strong advocate for net neutrality and he gave up his position supporting SOPA/PIPA when he realized it was not good for the web.

If he refuses to do his part now to create an online ecosystem that will spur creativity and competition, it will leave an indelible mark on his legacy as a champion of the free Internet. And more importantly, it will diminish America’s role as a world leader in technological innovation.

Related: Senator Schumer says plenum press underway to bring Micron chip factory to midtown New York

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