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State of the Union address calls for Congress to pass antitrust and data privacy legislation

President Biden’s second State of the Union address called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation on both antitrust and data privacy issues.

His comments on the antitrust issue specifically referenced the need to prevent tech companies favoring their own products, an accusation frequently levelled at Apple


Apple has come under antitrust pressure all around the world, most notably in respect of App Store policies – including in its home market of the US.

Back in 2019, Congress began a year-long antitrust investigation into tech giants, which included Apple. The Cupertino company was found to engage in “deeply disturbing” anticompetitive behavior.”

In 2021, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill known as The American Choice and Innovation Online Act, which would make it illegal for companies to give preferential treatment to their own products over those of competitor products hosted on the same platform. This would, for example, ban Apple from allowing in-app subscriptions to Apple Music while charging Spotify for the same feature.

Apple lobbied hard against the legislation, making callswriting letterspublishing white papers, and conducting interviews to present its side of the story. The bill didn’t make it as far as a vote, something which its primary sponsor, Senator Amy Klobuchar, said was due to an “incredible onslaught of money” from lobbyists.

State of the Union address

Dozens of similar bills have been introduced over the past couple of years in both the House and the Senate, but none have yet achieved enough support to make it to a vote.

Biden said that it was time for action on both issues.

It’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us.

He said that the two parties had demonstrated an ability to work together on key issues, and the American people expected nothing less.

Time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together. Came together to defend a stronger and safer Europe. Came together to pass a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law, building bridges to connect our nation and people. Came together to pass one of the most significant laws ever, helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

In fact, I signed over 300 bipartisan laws since becoming President. From reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, to the Electoral Count Reform Act, to the Respect for Marriage Act that protects the right to marry the person you love.

To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress.

The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere.

Photo: The White House

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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