Multi-million dollar campaign pushes Democrats to scrap antitrust reform

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Below: The future of a long-awaited privacy bill is uncertain, and New York passes landmark right to repair legislation. First:

Multi-million dollar campaign pushes Democrats to scrap antitrust reform

Vulnerable lawmakers typically don’t sweat their tech policy briefs when voters head to the polls.

But tech trade associations and groups linked to industry giants are working to change that cycle, launching a big publicity blitz that increasingly targets swing-state Democrats.

In recent months, industry-funded groups as CCIA and centrist liberal groups, including New Democracy have pumped millions in TV and digital ads, slamming a key antitrust proposition as flawed and dangerous.

The campaign focused on senators who might be reluctant to support Sen. Amy Klobuchar‘s American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992), which would prohibit big tech companies from giving preferential treatment to their own products.

CCIA — a trade group that counts Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google among its members — released more than $8 million worth of TV ads earlier this year mostly targeting swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New York. Wisconsin, according to the independent news site The Lever. The CCIA has also done more than $2 million worth of advertisements in New Hampshire, according to the New Hampshire Journal. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The push has been bolstered by groups like New Democracy, a liberal group that markets itself as a hotbed for “pragmatic Democratic leaders” and shares its staff with an industry-funded think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute.

In recent months, the group has pulled at least $167,000 from Facebook ads and more than $218,000 from Google ads that largely call on a select group of swing-state Democrats to defeat the bill. The ads were served at least 13 million times, according to a review by The Technology 202 of companies’ digital ad libraries.

The measures come as supporters seek to lock in support from key Democrats who could decide the fate of the bill, including the Senses. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), Jon Ossoff (Ga.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Maggie Hassan (NH) and Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin).

The ads appear tailor-made to address fears privately expressed by some Democratic leaders that advancing antitrust legislation during an election cycle, rather than focusing on pressing issues such as inflation, could hurt the party’s chances of retaining its majority in the Senate.

“Soaring inflation. Democracy under threat. Our rights under attack. But instead of tackling our toughest challenges, Congress is considering a bill that could make matters worse for millions of Americans, damaging the free services like Google search and maps,” says an ad run by New Democracy.

A spokesperson for Klobuchar (D-Minn.) did not respond to a request for comment.

Another digital ad run by New Democracy and played in Arizona at least 700,000 times portrays the legislation as an innovation killer that would create economic “uncertainty.”

“Protecting this,” says the narrator as images of children, a firefighter, and a medical professional display, “starts with them,” as an image of the US Capitol appears. The ad ends with “Tell your senator to vote no” on the Klobuchar bill.

Aaron White, a spokesperson for New Democracy, said the group was running ongoing digital and TV ads targeting Klobuchar’s proposal in states like Arizona, but did not say how much it spent on them. “These ads send a clear message to voters across the country: Congress needs to focus on what matters to Americans,” White said.

While it’s not immediately clear whether New Democracy has received funding directly from major tech companies, at least seven of the members or staff listed on its website – including its director and contact in communications – are also employees of the Progressive Policy Institute, which has received funding from Google, Amazon and Facebook, according to data compiled by the Tech Transparency Project.

(The technology watch group receives funding from the George Soros-founded Open Society Foundations, Craig Newmark Philanthropies and Omidyar Network.)

White, who is also director of communications at PPI, said that all of New Democracy’s ad campaigns are “generally funded, not a direct funder.” He added that a “majority of companies targeted in S2992 have never contributed to New Democracy,” without giving further details.

The ad campaign comes as lawmakers race to get their antitrust proposals across the finish line ahead of the midterm elections, which could shift control of Congress and annihilate any chance of passing their strongest antitrust proposals. aggressive.

Lawmakers unveil long-awaited privacy bill, but its prospects are uncertain

The bipartisan proposal would force companies to limit their data collection, and it would also allow users to sue companies that improperly sell their data and opt out of targeted ads, Jacob Bogage and I report. But the bill faces a rocky climb to become law, with critics saying it doesn’t do enough to protect consumers. Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee Maria Canwell (D-Wash.) did not endorse the bill, and the bill could stall without its support.

Cantwell told the Post that “any strong and comprehensive privacy law must protect consumers’ personal data with a clear requirement that companies are responsible for the use of that data and must act in the best interests of consumers.” consumers”.

In a letter last week, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told lawmakers that the latest efforts “fail” to meet consumer needs. Schatz urged them to “refuse to settle for a privacy framework that will only result in more policies to read, more cookies to consent to, and no real change for consumers.”

New York Passes Right to Repair Legislation Covering Consumer Electronics

The bill passed the Senate and New York State Assembly overwhelmingly last week and now goes to the governor. Kathy Hochul (D) for his signature, Motherboard’s Jason Koebler reports. It requires companies to sell parts and tools to repair their devices, and also requires them to provide documentation on how to repair devices under “fair and reasonable terms”.

“The bill is the most sweeping consumer rights legislation to pass in the United States in recent memory and is the result of countless hours of grassroots campaigning by consumer and consumer rights groups. consumers,” writes Koebler. It’s also the first time a state has passed right-to-repair legislation for consumer electronics.

Musk’s Twitter deal clears antitrust waiting period, company says

Antitrust probe by US regulators could have lasted months, Reuters says Nivedita Balu and Diane Bartz report.

Now, Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is facing potential scrutiny from other regulators. The U.S. Foreign Investments Committee has “investigated those involved in the merger deal about foreign investors Musk brought into his bid because of potential national security concerns,” my colleagues wrote last week. . The Securities and Exchange Commission questioned Musk about irregularities in the way he disclosed his investment in Twitter, according to a letter from the regulator.

Journalists discussed accidental emails after an email exchange from Amazon about promoting a minority group’s opposition to antitrust law was mistakenly sent to Politico. Journalist Jessica Husman:

Journalist Rebecca Ungarino:

EU agreement on a single mobile charging port likely on June 7 in a setback for Apple (Reuters)

Black employees say tech companies failed two years after DEI promises (Insider)

Elon Musk targets Tesla white-collar staff, a test case of Twitter plans (Faiz Siddiqui and Taylor Telford)

Queen holograms appear inside the Gold State Coach during the Jubilee (The Telegraph)

  • Former mayor of Charlottesville Michael Signera democrat, has joined Airbnb as Director of North American Policy.
  • Former Assistant Deputy United States Trade Representative Jonathan McHale joined CCIA as Vice President of Digital Commerce. CCIA also named Kara Mazachek as research director, Amir Nasr as head of trade policy and Sarah Young as communications manager.
  • The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is hosting a two-day summit starting today.
  • I will be hosting a Gallup panel with Jeans Samplesmember of the Facebook Oversight Board, and others Wednesday at 4 p.m.
  • Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Committee Rostin Behnam and Sense. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) and Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.) Discuss the future of cryptocurrency regulation at a Washington Post Live event Wednesday at 9 a.m.
  • NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson testifies before a Senate Commerce Committee panel Thursday at 10 a.m.
  • I’ll be moderating a NationSwell and Patrick J. McGovern Foundation panel on building trust in artificial intelligence on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

ThisThat’s all for today — thank you so much for joining us! Be sure to tell others to subscribe to The Technology 202 here. Get in touch with advice, comments or greetings on Twitter Where E-mail.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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