To the editor: 

In San Diego, both businesses and consumers rely on digital services and the online marketplace, now more than ever since the start of the pandemic. I’m the owner of J&E Cleaners in Rancho Bernardo, and the ability to communicate with regular and potential customers through the Internet has kept me in business. When the pandemic ends, one thing that will not change is that small businesses like mine will continue to use online tools in order to make our operations possible. 

However, there is tech legislation being considered in Congress that would make accessing those tools more expensive and complicated. These bills, which include HR 3816, S 2992, and HR 3825, would go after services that are useful to businesses and popular with consumers. HR 3825 would ban potential “conflicts of interest” and would do things like force Google to sell Google Maps and Gmail, which would put these widely used, free services at risk and eliminate key tools that businesses like mine used to bring in customers.

HR 3816 would prohibit tech companies from advantaging their own products over those of competitors. For example, Google would not be allowed to show Google Maps and reviews in Google search results, and Amazon wouldn’t be able to provide free two-day shipping on Prime products. For businesses like mine, where people use the Internet to look for the nearest shop when they need to get something cleaned, this would be disruptive. Surely there are higher priorities for Congress than creating regulations like these that consumers don’t seem to be asking for.

Businesses have been nimble and have responded over the last year and a half to enormous uncertainty and constantly changing regulations. Now is not the time for those in power to spend their time trying to make it harder for us. Our representatives should support small businesses and oppose HR 3816, S 2992, and HR 3825

Jazmin Gonzalez, Owner, J&E Cleaners, San Diego