Source: Wikimedia

An Ongoing List of Tech Bills in 116th Congress (2019–2020)

UPDATED: September 9, 2019

I thought it might be helpful to have an ongoing list of the tech-related bills that I am tracking for the 116th Congress. Send me updates at wrinehart at americanactionforum.com.

Privacy and Data Regulation

The American Data Dissemination Act of 2019 (S.142) or the ADD Act is a bill sponsored by Senator Rubio to impose privacy requirements on providers of Internet services similar to the requirements imposed on Federal agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974. Here is the text. Here is my breakdown.

The Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2019 (S.189) requires online platform operators to inform a user, prior to a user creating an account or otherwise using the platform, that the user’s personal data produced during online behavior will be collected and used by the operator and third parties. The bill is sponsored by Senator Klobuchar. Here is the text.

Senator Kennedy’s Own Your Own Data Act (S.806) would grant an exclusive property right in the data that individual generates on the Internet. Here is the text. Here are my thoughts on data ownership.

The Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act of 2019 (S.847), sponsored by Senators Blunt and Schatz, would strengthen consumer protections by prohibiting commercial users of facial recognition technology (FR) from collecting and re-sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent. Here is the text.

For the 116th, Representative Suzan DelBene reintroduced the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act (H.R.2013), which would require the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate regulations on sensitive information. Here is the text of the 2018 version and here is the current Congress.gov page.

Senator Marsha Blackburn reintroduced the BROWSER Act (S.1116), which would require both Internet service providers (ISP) and edge providers to obtain opt-in consent from people to use their information. Here is my breakdown of the previous bill, which was introduced in the House.

Section 230

Republican Senator Josh Hawley proposed legislation that would fundamentally change a key law underpinning the tech economy, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Currently, Section 230 limits the liability of tech companies for the content that traverses their Internet platforms. Hawley’s bill, titled Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act (S.1914), would only grant that kind of immunity to large tech platforms if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) certifies them as nonpartisan. My breakdown of the bill can be found here.

Rep. Gosar’s Stop the Censorship Act (H.R.4027) would amend Section 230 by striking Section 230(c), which currently protects networks for their efforts to take down offensive content.

The PLAN Act (H.R.4232), sponsored by Rep Ed Case, would amend Section 230 from applying to online vacation property listings that violate state and local regulations against short-term rentals.

Telecom and Broadband Deployment

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence, or TRACED Act (S.151), targets unwanted robocalls. The bill would give the FCC enhanced ability to fine bad actors and lengthen the window for investigating and taking civil enforcement actions against them. Here is the text. It has passed the Senate.

The Office of Rural Broadband Act (S.454), sponsored by Senator Cramer, would create an office with the FCC to focus on coordination of rural broadband efforts within the commission. Here is the text.

Senator Thune reintroduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S.1699) to speed up building of wireless infrastructure. The bill continues to face opposition from local government officials.

Also, watch out for STELA Reauthorization. Even though there is no bill currently, reauthorization has been an ongoing issue dating back to 2004. Here is a breakdown from Bloomberg and the Wikipedia page is worth reading for the legislative history.

Network Neutrality

The Promoting Internet Freedom and Innovation Act of 2019 (H.R.1096) would amend Title I of the Communications Act to implement open Internet rules. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodger. Here is the text.

The Save the Internet Act (H.R.1644) which would restore Obama-era net neutrality rules repealed in 2017. It has 132 cosponsors. Here is the text. Berin Szoka offers context.

Workforce Development

The Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology or CHANCE in Tech Act was reintroduced. This piece of legislation would provide industry intermediaries, like state tech associations, the ability to receive federal grants to develop apprenticeships within the technology sector. Here is the text.

The Building Blocks of STEM Act, a bipartisan bill with 6 co-sponsors, would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science. As a reminder, the bill passed the House last Congress. The text is here.

Senior Research Fellow | Center for Growth and Opportunity | @WillRinehart