Digital rights activists rally public support for lawmakers to abolish Apple’s dangerous App Store monopoly

Posted April 22, 2021, 3:12 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2021

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press@fightforthefuture.org

After the Senate Judiciary Committee attacked Apple for human rights abuses, invasive data collection, and anti-competitive behavior, Fight for the Future is calling on people to contact their lawmakers to end the app store monopoly

On Wednesday, members of the Senate Judiciary exposed Big Tech’s censorship, digital privacy, and monopoly activities during a lengthy hearing with representatives from Apple and Google. Now human rights organization Fight for the Future is asking everyone to visit www.AbolishTheAppStore.org and demand that Congress pass strong laws to protect the public from further abuse.

"When you buy a phone, it’s your phone," said Evan Greer, Deputy Director at Fight for the Future (she/her). "You should have the basic right to install whatever software you want on it. Period. This issue has largely been portrayed as a spat between big companies: mobile giants like Apple and Google vs app giants like Epic and Spotify. But this issue is much bigger than that: it’s about whether the future of technology is open and accessible or locked down into walled gardens that benefit incumbents and elites. Apple’s stranglehold over what software can run on iPhones creates a choke point that governments have used to crack down on political dissent, target marginalized people like LGBTQ folks, and worse. App store monopolies aren’t just a competition issue, they’re a human rights issue."

In a rare showing of bipartisan consensus, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemned Apple and Google for trampling on consumers’ rights in pursuit of greater profits. Sen. John Ossoff (D–GA) pointed out the prevalence of fake reviews and scam apps in the App Store, while Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R–TN) attacked Apple for pulling pro-democracy apps from the App Store at the behest of the Chinese government during recent political protests in Hong Kong.

But strong words alone won’t convince Big Tech companies to protect the public from disinformation and manipulation; meaningful legislation is needed. That’s why Fight for the Future has launched a website, www.AbolishTheAppStore.org, which makes it easy for anyone to send a message telling members of Congress to abolish Apple’s App Store monopoly and allow people to load whatever apps they want on the devices they own. 

It’s a seemingly small change … but with big implications. After all, allowing 1 billion iPhone users around the world to decide for themselves what does and doesn’t go on their devices prevents Apple from censoring apps and content. Such a move would also create more competition and undermine monopoly behavior that reinforces the power of Big Tech, like Apple’s 2016 sweetheart deal with Amazon. 

For more information — or to contact your lawmakers — please visit

www.AbolishTheAppStore.org