In this Oct. 28, 2020, file photo, Google's CEO Sundar Pichais appears on a screen as he speaks remotely during a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Greg Nash / AP

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Congress is poised to consider legislation restricting the technology platforms small-business owners use every day. These bills, with seemingly innocuous names like the Platform Competition and Opportunity Actthe American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, were crafted without industry input. No doubt that these bills would end up making online services more expensive, more confusing and more time consuming to use. Worse yet, they would also place control of the best online consumer products, including those yet to be invented, in government hands.

Sponsored by Democrats and Republicans, this legislation would drastically alter the way online companies interact with customers. It would prevent tech companies from promoting their integrated tools for small businesses. Think about how Google search results direct users to local Google Maps results; this would be discouraged. In broad strokes, these bills would empower the government — instead of consumers — to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.

It’s important that your representatives hear about the dangers of a government-controlled internet. Everyone wants common-sense legislation that protects consumers from harm, but it’s not worth losing the online innovations that have helped — and continue to help — Americans save time and money every day. These features make technology work for people, enabling them to pull themselves out of poverty, pushing their enterprises to new levels of growth. Instead of punishing the platforms and companies which provide immense value to Americans, Congress should focus on helping Americans burdened by this type of excessive regulation.

Jacob Posik

Director of communications

Maine Policy Institute