Small Businesses Warn Congress Internet Regulations Go Too Far

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Internet for Growth, a coalition of small businesses and creators who depend on digital advertising, have published an Open Letter to Congress supporting national data privacy legislation that promotes competition, jobs and growth, but warn federal lawmakers that bills to punish “Big Tech” could harm Americans already struggling in an inflationary economy.

“When my wife and I started Baby Chick we took a leap of faith. Before taking that leap, we considered the risks like any entrepreneur, but did not imagine the federal government would put its finger on the scale, limiting our ability to deliver quality content our customers enjoy and that generates revenue to pay our staff,” said Brian Spears, Co-Founder & CEO of online publisher Baby Chick and an Internet for Growth member.

In their letter, retailers, artists, health professionals and more write that bills like the Banning Surveillance Act, Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act and elements of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act “would cripple entrepreneurs and innovators competing with the largest companies in today’s economy, where data and information are crucial resources, and customers expect timely, tailored suggestions for goods and services.”

These bills could restrict their ability to reach customers online, increase advertising costs, and reduce its effectiveness, and raise the risk of financial penalties, say members of Internet for Growth.

“Internet advertising has allowed me to scale up my business and reach more customers,” said Xaviera Bryant, owner of Ice Cream Conversations, another online media publisher. “Without the power of online advertising I would not have been able to dedicate myself full-time to my business and my passion. I’d be in a pretty bad situation if Congress inhibits my ability to effectively advertise online.”

The internet has redefined how small businesses operate. According to the “Economic Impact of the Market-Making Internet,” an Interactive Advertising Bureau study, small businesses and individually owned firms represent the largest share of 17 million internet-related jobs in the U.S., many of which depend on data and digital advertising.