This is a brief legislative update for the public. Join the i2Coalition for in-depth updates available only to members.
The Trump Administration’s FY 2020 proposed budget is out, which means Congress will hold hearings on the budget’s details for most of March and April, while committees craft their own appropriations bill for the next fiscal year.
In the meantime, expect more hearings and legislative activity on privacy, particularly as it relates to the online community. That includes more conversations about privacy, intermediary liability and Facebook. Both Chambers are in recess this week.
- Facebook scrutiny: Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks, The New York Times reportsHYPERLINK “http://go.politicoemail.com/?qs=531c1a75641bfe226ba2e15d460b202cb6f275d744c6ed37139d50f1384c1bc9220bda04a760320c3047ad688159f581” . And this is in addition to reports that Facebook is also dealing with inquiries from the FBI, the DOJ, the SEC and the FTC.
- Senate Judiciary Privacy Hearing: Senate Judiciary Members held a hearing to examine California’s new privacy law (CCPA) and the implementation of the GDPR. Highlights: Both Republicans and Democrats support federal privacy legislation, but Democrats will oppose any legislation that weakens the California law.
- Introduction of Legislation Governing Social Media Privacy Practices: The “Own Your Own Data Act” was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It will require companies to put their terms of service on data in plain English, prohibit the collection of private data by social media companies and grant users the property rights to all of the data that they generate on the internet.
- Children’s Online Privacy: Legislation to update the children’s privacy law (COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) was also introduced in the Senate. The bill would prohibit internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and from anyone 13- to 15-years old without the user’s consent. The legislation also creates an “Eraser Button,” so parents and kids can delete personal information and a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information. The bill also establishes a first-of-its-kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors and marketing directed at children and minors.
- Members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers have made statements suggesting they are willing to make changes to Section 230. The belief is that while protections given to platforms have some benefits, there are also serious problems that require examination. There is a discussion about attaching Section 230 language to a Net Neutrality bill in the House.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS – NET NEUTRALITY
- Net Neutrality Hearing on Save the Internet Act 3/13: A House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology (C&T) Subcommittee held a legislative hearing earlier this week on the Save the Internet Act. The bill would codify the previously repealed 2015 FCC Open Internet Order, including reinstating Title II regulations. Democrats were united behind the bill, but Republicans insisted that they come to some other bipartisan agreement that does not include Title II. While this is the second hearing on the topic in a month, if a bill were to come from the House, there are not enough votes in the Senate to support passage.
- U.S.-China Trade Negotiations: On March 7, the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Security held the hearing “China: Challenges for U.S. Commerce.” This hearing examined the security implications of China’s practices in the marketplace, including issues of manufacturing competitiveness, intellectual property challenges such as IP theft and forced technology transfers, data localization requirements, international standards-setting, and cybersecurity threats.
- U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA): On March 8, President Trump said that the USMCA could be sent to Congress for approval “very shortly.” After the trade legislation is transmitted, Congress has 90 days to vote on the deal, which has already drawn bipartisan criticism.