Press Release

Blackburn introduces bill to protect online privacy

Reps. Fitzpatrick, Flores join effort

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WASHINGTON, May 19, 2017 | comments
WASHINGTON—Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Thursday introduced the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017 to protect the online privacy of Americans. She was joined by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Bill Flores (R-Texas).

Several weeks ago, Blackburn led an effort to repeal the FCC’s privacy rulemaking. “The FCC’s privacy rulemaking had two distinct problems,” Blackburn said. “First, it created confusion by establishing two privacy regulators. The FCC unilaterally swiped jurisdiction from the FTC in a blatant power grab. Second, the FCC focused on only one part of the Internet eco-system and ignored edge provider services that collect as much, if not more data, than ISPs. The government should not pick winners and losers when it comes to the privacy of Americans. This bill creates a level and fair privacy playing field by bringing all entities that collect and sell the personal data of individuals under the same rules. We look forward to working with our Democratic colleagues on this important initiative.”

"As a Member of the House Homeland Security Committee's Cybersecurity Subcommittee, internet privacy and security must be a top priority. Step one in that process was to override any regulation that creates more confusion by giving jurisdiction to multiple agencies, only to have them regulate only one-half of the digital world. Step two in that process is to introduce comprehensive internet privacy legislation that will more fully protect online users in their use of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), search engines and social media,” said Fitzpatrick. “The BROWSER Act does just that. We must offer American citizens real internet privacy protection, not mere lip service which gives internet users false expectations about their level of online security. I encourage all House members who are serious about protecting our constituents' online privacy to join me in advancing this bill."

The legislation designates the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the nation’s sole online privacy enforcer and brings internet service providers (ISPs) and edge providers under a regime similar to that previously adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

To read the text of the bill, click here.

Rep. Blackburn represents Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of representatives.

Rep. Fitzpatrick represents Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District and serves on the House Foreign Affairs, Small Business, and Homeland Security Committees.

Rep. Flores represents Texas’ Seventeenth Congressional District and serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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