Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote in an op-ed Sunday saying that for Americans to protect their privacy, they must “hold big tech accountable.”
Blackburn, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Tech Task Force, said in the op-ed that the Senate needs to hold big tech accountable through her Browser Act.
The Tennessee Republican introduced the Browser Act in April, which 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.
The senator’s op-ed arises as the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state attorneys general, and Congress have launched antitrust investigations against Google and Facebook.
Sen. Blackburn noted that only a “handful of companies” control the online advertising market, which is the focus of the state attorneys general investigation. The Tennessee conservative wrote that Google remains set to control roughly 40 percent of the digital advertising market in 2019.
While state attorneys general continue to investigate Google, Sen. Blackburn contended that Congress could take up the Browser Act, which would protect Americans’ privacy without harming innovation.
“Changing privacy practices will inevitably change the way these companies do business—and could even shake up the market,” Blackburn said. “It won’t solve every point of contention in what’s sure to be a protracted investigation into Silicon Valley’s back offices, but it’s a great place to start.”
“Protecting your right to privacy in the 21st century requires that we hold Big Tech accountable,” Blackburn concluded in her op-ed.