Blackburn applauds advancement of Open App Markets Act to full Senate

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) commended approval by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 3 of her bipartisan bill, the Open App Markets Act, which would establish rules related to the operation of an app store by a covered company. The measure now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. 

“The passage of the Open App Markets Act out of the Senate Judiciary committee brings us one step closer to having this legislation signed into law,” Rep. Blackburn said on Feb. 4. “This bill will let people download apps directly from outside companies rather than being forced to go through official app stores.”

Sen. Blackburn also said that the bill, S. 2710, would “help citizens circumvent Beijing’s strict internet censorship” in China. 

The Open App Markets Act, S. 2710, which Sen. Blackburn cosponsored on Aug. 11, 2021, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), also would prohibit a covered company from requiring developers to use an in-app payment system owned or controlled by the company as a condition of distribution or accessibility; requiring that pricing or conditions of sale be equal to or more favorable on its app store than another app store; or taking punitive action against a developer for using or offering different pricing terms or conditions of sale through another in-app payment system or on another app store, according to the text of the bill.

Among several other provisions, the bill also would provide for enforcement of its provisions by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as through suits brought by developers that are injured by reason of anything forbidden under the bill.

The bill has been endorsed by several technology and consumer groups, including Consumer Reports, the Internet Accountability Project, Public Citizen, the Coalition for App Fairness, the Color Of Change, the News Media Alliance, Public Knowledge, the Lincoln Network, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, the Digital Progress Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Principles Project, and the American Economic Liberties Project.