The American Innovation and Choice Online Act could ban major tech firms like Apple from favoring their products over competitors. Aimed to shake up the competition, tech lobbyists claim the bill, which allows sideloading, could harm popular consumer products.
Despite being a bipartisan bill, some Democrats are hesitant over worries it could hurt the upcoming midterm election, according to POLITICO. However, Senator Amy Klobuchar has unveiled a revised version of the bill that addresses concerns from lawmakers of both parties.
Sideloading increases risk
Apple has been vocal on its concerns on the impact of opening up the competition on its App Store. It believes allowing users to download outside apps isn’t a good thing. The company believes the act of sideloading will increase security vulnerabilities on iOS. In a statement to 9to5Mac, an Apple Spokesperson said:
We created the iPhone and the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to download the apps they love and a great business opportunity for developers everywhere. The result has been an unprecedented engine for economic growth, which has enabled competition and innovation and made it possible for any developer with a great idea to reach Apple customers around the world.
The EU has tried this already.
Apple has also been fighting with the European Union to speak out against sideloading. Recently, it formed the Digital Markets Act, forcing Apple to allow users to install outside apps if they desire. The EU has stated its belief that smartphone owners should have the freedom to choose how to use their devices.
The Apple Spokesperson goes on to state:
We remain concerned that this legislation threatens to break this model and undermine the privacy and security protections our users depend on. Governments and international agencies worldwide have explicitly advised against sideloading requirements, which would empower bad actors who want to target users—including children—with malware and scams, and make it easier for data-hungry companies to track users without their consent. At the end of the day, the changes made to the bill are a recognition that the legislation, as originally drafted, created unintended privacy and security vulnerabilities for users. We believe the proposed remedies fall far short of the protections consumers need, and urge lawmakers to make further changes to avoid these unintended consequences.
Additionally, Apple and other Big Tech firms have spent millions of dollars in lobbying spending over the past year. There’s also been advertising campaigns against bills that would harm security and aggravate customers who rely on these products.
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