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Google and Apple warn about consequences of upcoming legislation

By Sanuj Bhatia January 19, 2022, 5:45 am
apple google antitrust

Later this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to open a debate to discuss the two proposed bills that were first introduced last summer. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to review the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act. Naturally, big tech companies like Google and Apple are not happy with the implications it could've on their business. Ahead of the debate, Apple and Google have laid down the harmful consequences these acts could've in case they're passed.

What Google has to say

Alphabet's (Google's) President Global Affairs & Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker says that the legislation being discussed could break Google's services like Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and other popular online services. For those of you who don't know, the new legislation demands these big tech companies to not favor their own products at the expense of competitors.

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These bills may compel us to share the sensitive data you store with us with unknown companies in ways that could compromise your privacy.

He says that the bills "could prohibit [Google] from giving you integrated, high-quality results — even when you prefer them — just because some other company might offer competing answers." He also says that the legislation could also lead to an increase in cyberattacks if the consumers aren't using Google products and highlights that Google's services have security and privacy protections baked in.

Walker also highlights that Google Search and Maps may not be able to offer "integrated, high-quality results" when "some other company might offer competing answers." This may result in Google not showing a business location on Google Maps, or other information like opening hours, contact information, in search results. Google also warns that it might not be able to offer integrated Gmail, Calendar, and Docs.

What Apple has to say

Apple (via MacRumors) says that the legislation could "hurt competition and discourage innovation". Apple also points out flaws in the Open App Markets Act. As per the Open App Markets Act, Apple will have to allow iOS and iPadOS devices to sideload apps from outside the App Store. Apple says that allowing sideloaded apps on iOS and iPadOS will undermine its security and privacy protections.

[...] It would be ironic if Congress responds by making it much harder to protect the privacy and security of Americans’ personal devices. Unfortunately, that is what these bills would do.

These bills will reward those who have been irresponsible with users’ data and empower bad actors who would target consumers with malware, ransomware, and scams.

Apple again says that its App Store is a culmination of advanced technology and human review which makes it "dramatically more secure" than other solutions.

The bills put consumers in harm's way because of the real risk of privacy and security breaches. In addition to making privacy and security protections nearly impossible to defend, the bills would actually allow predators and scammers to sidestep Apple's privacy and security protections completely.

This circumvention is possible because the bills would mandate "sideloading," or the direct installation of software from the internet in a way that circumvents the privacy and security protections Apple has designed, including human review of every app and every app update.

The new Acts may benefit competition, but it's also worth noting that if they become a law, it may affect consumer security. Both of the big tech companies suggest to the Committee that it shouldn't "rush to judgment" and suggest that the bills should be modified to address the concerns before moving forward.

Source: Google | Via: MacRumors, 9to5Google

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