Americans will force big tech to the negotiating table
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said during a speech Saturday that the American people will force Big Tech to come to the negotiating table, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
“What I think people don’t realize is that we never imposed meaningful regulations on tech companies. That might have made sense when Google and Facebook were still in garages, but those are very sophisticated players who are more than capable of handling a modest compliance framework,” Blackburn said in prepared remarks at the Club for Growth Foundation’s technology symposium on Saturday.
Blackburn explained how and why Congress should pass a far-reaching technology policy platform to address many privacy issues, the Children’s Online Safety Act (KOSA), the App Markets Act cryptocurrency, competitiveness with China, government pressure to censor free speech (e.g. Hunter Biden’s laptop), and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The Tennessee conservative will have a significant influence on technology policy, not only because of her status as a member of the Senate Commerce and Justice Committees, but also because of her decades of experience in technology policy.
Blackburn said Congress should strike a balance that curbs the excesses of Big Tech, which includes censorship, while allowing innovation and competition to thrive.
“Consumers and regulators are stuck in a situation where we no longer trust tech companies, but we can’t live our lives without them,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn, which has produced substantial technology legislation, such as the BROWSER Act in the House, brought its technology experience to the Senate in 2019 to create the bipartisan Technology Task Force within the Judiciary Committee. The task force examined potential bipartisan solutions to platform regulation and social media harms.
Blackburn said a federal privacy standard must have a preemption, or “one set of rules for the entire internet ecosystem.” She said the privacy standard must clarify what companies can and cannot do with customer data. Congress must modernize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), noting that the agency has not been reauthorized since the 1990s.
Legislative solutions in progress
Blackburn said she remains optimistic that Congress can pass the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a bill allowing parents to take control of children’s online experiences to protect their health and their well-being, and the Open App Markets Act, a bill that would break the Apple and Google app store duopoly.
Blackburn said she and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) have been working to update lawmakers on the latest cryptocurrency, bitcoin and regulatory developments. She warned that the collapse and ongoing legal battles surrounding digital currency exchange FTX and disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried would make legislative solutions less likely. Instead, the focus will be on monitoring. However, she warned that the farm bill could be a vehicle for a legislative cryptocurrency solution.
Blackburn said it sponsored the Say No to the Silk Road Act, which would set new standards and guidelines for China’s central bank digital currency, or digital yuan.
She said she sponsored the Secure Equipment Act, which is now public law. The bill directs the FCC to stop allowing phones, tablets and other devices to operate in the United States when the manufacturer may pose a threat to national security.
Section 230 and censorship
Blackburn said of the Twitter Files revelations, “If anything, it was worse because they saw how normalized the culture of government censorship had become in Silicon Valley.
“You can rest assured that I will not allow any legislation increasing censorship to go forward in Congress,” she said.
Blackburn said she was working with lawmakers on bipartisan proposals that would narrow the scope of the landmark intermediary liability law that allows Meta to “manipulate you and your children with reckless eyes.”
Blackburn said the American people will continually expect Congress to find the “balance” between solving these technological problems without stifling innovation. However, she noted that Americans themselves will serve as the wave of popular support that will lead to these solutions becoming law.
She clarified, “It won’t be congressional subpoenas that bring tech companies to the table. Their customers will force them to do so.
Sean Moran is a political reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.