Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said Wednesday that Congress needs to pass data privacy legislation to encourage more competition in the technology markets.
Sen. Blackburn, who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee’s tech task force, wants to use her position to hold Silicon Valley accountable by pushing for data privacy legislation.
“I think what you’re going to see us do in the Senate is a more steady, incremental approach,” Blackburn told the Washington Post.
Blackburn announced her tech task force during the White House’s social media summit, saying that she will study issues regarding privacy, data security, and competition.
“I’m hearing from so many people who are saying, ‘We need to put some guard rails in place,’ because we’ve never done that,” Blackburn explained in July. “This is not an industry in its infancy. This is an industry that is a mature industry at this point.”
The Tennessee conservative said that the task force will help lawmakers “up their institutional knowledge” regarding privacy, data security, competition, as well as political censorship.
Further, Sen. Blackburn said it “is up to Congress to actually put some laws on the book and to begin to build this framework and then work with them on penalties, enforcement, limited rulemaking if necessary.”
Sen. Blackburn said that she would like to user her BROWSER Act as a starting point for data privacy regulation. Blackburn’s BROWSER Act would require Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon, as well as content providers, such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, to obtain users’ consent before collecting and selling their information for marketing.
The Browser Act would also prevent social media companies from blocking users should the user decide not to consent to a tech company’s collection of his or her private data.
Blackburn has questioned for years if technology companies or Americans own their private data. Sen. Blackburn has said that Americans should have more control over their own data.
In 2018, Blackburn asked rhetorically, “Who owns the digital you? Is it you or the search engine or the edge provider that is providing the service?”