Chairman Nadler Statement for the Markup of H.R. 3849, the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act of 2021
Washington, June 23, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 3849, the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act of 2021:
"H.R. 3849, the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act, or ACCESS Act, requires dominant online platforms to provide competing platforms the ability to connect and communicate with their systems—a concept known as interoperability—and requires these dominant platforms to allow users to transfer their data to another competing platform—which is known as data portability.
"Too often, the segments of the digital economy that are dominated by the largest platforms are closed off to competition.
"These markets often have high barriers to entry, switching costs, and other characteristics that lock-in consumers and businesses to using one company in that industry. These market characteristics also reinforce the dominance of powerful firms, while blocking new entrants into the market and depriving consumers and small businesses of choice.
"The 'ACCESS Act of 2021' addresses these concerns by giving the Federal Trade Commission new authority and enforcement tools to establish pro-competitive rules for interoperability and data portability online. To do so, the bill creates a Technical Committee inside the FTC comprised of relevant businesses, agencies, and experts to develop these standards for adoption by the FTC.
"The ACCESS Act also gives the FTC new authorities to swiftly challenge abusive conduct that violates these interoperability and portability requirements.
"Importantly, the ACCESS Act also protects user privacy and data security. The bill empowers users to determine how and with whom their data is shared. It also requires data minimization for firms interoperating under the bill, so that companies do not monetize, collect, or use more data than is necessary.
"Throughout its investigation, the Antitrust Subcommittee heard testimony from several witnesses about the benefits of interoperability and data portability, which are well-proven tools to promote competition and break down barriers in highly concentrated markets. Congress relied on these same tools in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which required the regional Bell operating companies to interconnect with rivals and required them to allow consumers to take their phone numbers with them if they switched to another phone company.
"This bill strikes the right balance to encourage competition, give consumers more choices, and protect user privacy."I thank my colleagues, Congresswoman Scanlon and Congressman Owens, for their leadership on this important bipartisan measure, and I urge its adoption."