Exclusive—Rep. Marsha Blackburn Will Propose Legislation to ‘Codify the Rules of a Free and Open Internet’

Marsha Blackburn

House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that she will soon propose legislation to “codify the rules of a free and open Internet.”

Blackburn added that Silicon Valley’s “version of net neutrality is censoring free speech.”

“We are going to settle the net neutrality debate,” proclaimed Blackburn.

Congresswoman Blackburn told Breitbart News about her forthcoming legislation that will codify the rules of a free and open Internet in the wake the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repeal of the agency’s 2015 net neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told Breitbart News in April that he hopes to see a permanent legislative alternative to the idea of net neutrality.

Blackburn told Breitbart News that in her future legislation, Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Verizon cannot block or throttle content.

The FCC’s Obama-era net neutrality regulations controlled the Internet as a public monopoly, which conservatives argued diminished the freedom of the Internet and led to rampant censorship of conservative and alternative voices by content providers such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

Rep. Blackburn, who is running for U.S. Senate in the 2018 midterm election, had one of her campaign ads censored because she proclaimed that she “stopped the sale of body parts” through her investigation of Planned Parenthood. Breitbart News reported that Twitter censored Blackburn’s campaign ad because it was believed to be too “inflammatory.”

Rep. Blackburn told Breitbart News why she decided to unveil her legislation to codify the laws of a free and open Internet. She said, “When you talk to innovators in the online space, one of the things that is frustrating to them is that the rules of the internet continue to change over the last few years. What we want to do is codify the rules of an open internet.”

“What we saw with the Wheeler order in 2015 was really control of the Internet. We are going to put rules in place that will stop the ping-ponging depending on who’s in charge of the FCC. This is an issue that should be decided by Congress,” Blackburn added.

The Tennessee congresswoman then said that in her legislation “there will not be blocking, there will not be throttling, we will have light-touch regulation of a free and open Internet.”

The congresswoman then suggested that with the repeal of net neutrality “you will see more innovation. You will see more competition. We were concerned that with the reclassification that we saw a downturn in broadband investment to the tune of several billion dollars.”

Congresswoman Blackburn previously told Breitbart News that broadband investment “is the infrastructure issue of this decade.”

Blackburn added, “Companies will finally start saying, ‘Let’s get innovating!’”

“Industries that require a lot of bandwidth such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, healthcare technology, telehealth, they are all saying that they need to negotiate their data packages for specific industry cases,” Rep. Blackburn explained. “A few years ago no one knew about Twitter or Snapchat and nobody that e-commerce or stream without latency issues. We ought not to limit the decisions of those innovators.”

Rep. Blackburn then charged that content providers censor the Internet far more than ISPs such as Comcast or Verizon. Breitbart News’ Allum Bokhari and the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” argued that content providers such as Google and Facebook serve as a greater threat to Internet freedom compared to ISPs.

Blackburn explained to Breitbart News, “Content providers are discriminating and censoring. Even I have been censored. These companies are fighting against a free and open Internet, they’re fighting for government regulation. These are the companies that are censoring the internet service providers, they’re saying ‘we’re working on the edge, don’t regulate us and let us tend to whatever we want to do.’ That’s why conservative groups have blocked on Facebook and YouTube. That’s why I was blocked on Twitter for presenting a pro-life message. That’s why the president’s Twitter account was taken down for a number of hours. That’s why Chairman Pai’s video was blocked. Their version of net neutrality is censoring free speech.”

Congresswoman Blackburn then suggested that Congress should discuss the idea of requiring content providers such as Facebook or Google to similar transparency requirements about their blocking and censorship practices that the FCC will subject ISPs to in the newly-passed Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

Blackburn asked, “They can block a campaign video and they can block Chairman Pai, but they will not block sex traffickers?”

“These companies want to control what you think, what you read, prioritization – look at how Google prioritizes search,” Blackburn charged.

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