New York State Sen. Michael ian Janaris was hilarious when Amazon named Long Island City 2018. As the leader of his new headquarters, a project that will bring 25,000 jobs and $ 2.5 billion in construction costs to his Quincy district.
But his support quickly waned when he learned that state and city officials had promised in secret negotiations to give one of the richest companies in the world $ 3 billion in tax breaks. Public outcry has led Amazon to cancel the investment altogether, but for Gianaris, that episode still sheds light on the massive power of technology companies that dominate their industries, dominate traditional businesses, and use those levers to expand their reach.
Consumer activists, small business owners, and state lawmakers in the United States are increasingly calling for action to curb companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google that affect much of everyday life. :
This was usually the responsibility of the federal government. But while the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have launched major antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook, both with widespread state support, Congress has stalled on new legislation on Big Tech.
Thus, several so-called “techlash” bills are being debated in dozens of state chambers, where lawmakers from the two major parties are proposing new regulations on antitrust, consumer privacy, app store fees, and digital advertising sales taxes. Republican lawmakers are pushing back what they claim is an attempt to stifle conservative voices on social media without evidence.
Democrat Giannaris is pushing for an antitrust bill in the New York legislature. It will establish a new antitrust law standard – “abuse of sovereignty” – will allow class litigation to be filed under state law.
“Our antitrust laws have been atrophied, they are not well-equipped for 21st century anti-competitive practices,” he said. “Traditional antitrust law does not work because Big Tech has become too big and too powerful.”
The technical companies are not satisfied with the defensive game. Their lobbyists are urging state lawmakers to oppose restrictions they deem heavy. In other cases, companies are working to write their own, more favorable bills. On many issues, they also prefer federal law to state law.
Of particular concern to the two large companies is the legislation being debated in several states, which will limit Apple և Google հնարավոր to allow Apple և Google to collect most of the consumer transactions in their app stores.
Critics say the two leading US smartphone companies are using themselves as app gatekeepers to pay their revenue to charge and harm competitors competing against their own music, video and other services.
Leading companies are companies such as Epic, which owns the popular Fortnite video games, Spotify և Match.com. They want to force Apple և Google to allow them to withhold subscription և app sales revenue without cutting it.
In an effort to avoid possible government reform, Apple cut its standard 30% commission on app purchases for most developers last year. Google recently backed down from the cuts that are set to take effect in July.
State Representative Regina Cobb, Arizona-sponsored Republican legislation, says software developers and their clients are being held hostage.
“It’s a kind of Chicago-style mafia. You pay us 30 percent or you don’t have time to play. We will take you out of our platform. “Your company is done,” Cobb said.
Similar legislation is in place in Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin. North Dakota app store legislation died in February after intense lobbying by both sides. Apple’s chief privacy engineer, Eric Neuenswander, has spoken out against the bill, saying it “threatens to destroy the iPhone as you know it” and called for changes that would undermine privacy and security.
The three states of California, Nevada and Virginia took steps to adopt their own comprehensive data privacy laws, encouraging others to follow suit.
In Oklahoma, a bipartisan bill requires companies to obtain prior approval before collecting and selling data on state residents. In Florida, legislation will allow consumers to access digital information companies that gather through their spending, social interactions, news habits, and travel.
The Florida bill requires companies to disclose what data they collect, force consumers to delete it, or ban it from distribution or sale when it does not say so. If they do not comply, they can sue.
One of its sponsors, Republican Fiona McFarland, said it was a response to the ubiquitous collection of personal data exchanges and sales.
“It’s everything from these apps on our phones to exchanging payments and calendars,” he said.
Facebook says it supports some online privacy laws and contributes as much as possible when bills are written. The Internet Association, a major business group representing Amazon, Facebook, Google and dozens of other tech companies, declined to comment.
In California, the so-called eavesdropping bill aims to limit how smart loudspeakers can invade privacy. Its sponsor, Republican Jordan Jordan Cunningham, turned on the smart device in his bedroom six months ago after a quiet fire.
“The only thing that prevents all these recordings from being in the hands of the government is a search warrant,” he said. “These things are constantly breaking down, so you know your data could end up in Russia.”
His bill would extend smart TV restrictions, requiring Amazon, which sells Echo smartphones, to get permission before they can record, copy or sell information from any conversation.
The disruption of traditional business by companies և The tax revenues they once provided to governments have also gone unnoticed.
Maryland lawmakers lifted a veto this year by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to create the country’s first law to tax digital advertising. The measure, which was approved last year, has prompted a number of other states, including Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Montana and New York, to consider similar legislation.
Proponents say the bill aims to modernize the state tax system and force emerging technology companies to pay their fair share. It will estimate revenue for technology companies that import digital advertising to the state, raising $ 250 million a year for education.
“Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have seen their profits skyrocket during the COVID-19 epidemic as our Main Street business struggles,” said Bill Maryland, a Democrat who sponsored the event. Ferguson.
Opponents have challenged the law in federal court, saying it violates the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits states from “imposing multiple, discriminatory taxes on e-commerce.”
The wave of government legislation is following a growing awareness of the growing influence of Big Tech’s companies, says Samir Ain Yen, policy director at the Dem Democracy and Technology Center in Washington.
“This has strengthened the response to technology companies in terms of how they use their power,” he said.
Calvan reported from Tallahassee, Florida; Gordon reported from Washington
Associated Press writers Jon Onatan Coop. Cooper in Phoenix, Arizona; Michael Lidtke, San Ramոնn, California; Barbara Ortuta in Auckland, California; : Brian White contributed to this report in Annapolis, Maryland.
Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap և Calvan at https://Twitter.com/BobbyCalvan.