Communications & Technology

Subcommittee

Subcommittee on Communications & Technology

Electronic communications, both Interstate and foreign, including voice, video, audio and data, whether transmitted by wire or wirelessly, and whether transmitted by telecommunications, commercial or private mobile service, broadcast, cable, satellite, microwave, or other mode; technology generally; emergency and public safety communications; cybersecurity, privacy, and data security; the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security; and all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.

Subcommittees News & Announcements


Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone Applaud Passage of H.R. 7520 and H.R. 7521

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) praised the inclusion of H.R. 7520, the Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024, and H.R. 7521, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, in the 21 st Century Peace Through Strength Act that passed the House today. “These bills are the result of diligent and bipartisan work to protect Americans’ data and address the serious national security threat posed by our adversaries. Today’s vote is a clear victory for protecting Americans online and off, but there is still work to be done,” said Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone. “Companies and bad actors are collecting troves of our data unchecked and using it to exploit, monetize, and manipulate Americans of all ages. This cannot be allowed to continue, which is why today’s actions are an important step forward as the Energy and Commerce Committee continues to work together on tech accountability measures.”



Apr 19, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Announces Slate of Budget Hearings to Hold Biden Admin Accountable

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced a series of upcoming budget hearings with Biden administration officials as part of the Committee’s ongoing efforts to hold the administration accountable on behalf the American people. “President Biden’s radical, out-of-touch, tax-and-spend agenda will only make the inflation crisis he caused worse for the American people. By bending to the whims of his left-wing base, he’s sacrificing freedom and prosperity for all Americans,” said Chair Rodgers . “It’s nearly three and a half years into his presidency, and all the Biden administration has to show is a war on American energy, a worse national and cybersecurity posture, and a weakened American role on the world stage. These hearings will give our Members the opportunity to ensure this administration is transparent and accountable to the American people.” The following administration officials will testify for budget hearings:  Wednesday, May 1 Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Hearing with the Department of Energy:   Hon. Jennifer Granholm, Secretary, Department of Energy   Tuesday, May 7 Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing with the Federal Communications Commission:   Hon. Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman, Federal Communications Commission   Hon. Brendan Carr, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission   Hon. Nathan Simington, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission   Hon. Geoffrey Starks, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission   Hon. Anna Gomez, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission   Wednesday, May 15 Subcommittee on Environmental, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Hearing with the Environmental Protection Agency:   Hon. Michael Regan, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency   Wednesday, May 15 Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration:   Hon. Alan Davidson, Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration   This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearings will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ .  If you have any questions concerning the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearings, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov .  If you have any questions concerning the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security or Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials hearings, please contact Kaitlyn Peterson at Kaitlyn.Peterson@mail.house.gov .  If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov .



Apr 11, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Remarks on the Future of Section 230

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing to discuss the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. FOSTERING A DYNAMIC ONLINE ENVIRONMENT “In 1996, the early days of the Internet, Section 230 was enacted to provide online platforms immunity from liability for content posted by third-party users.   “This legal protection was instrumental in fostering the growth of these platforms and unleashed a vibrant online ecosystem that led to the creation of social media platforms that promoted user-generated content, social interaction, and innovation. “Section 230 has two main mechanisms: first, a provision that exempts platforms from being held liable for content that is posted on their website by a third-party user; and second, a provision that exempts platforms from being held liable for content that they remove or moderate in ‘good faith.’ “This dual liability protection is often referred to as the 'sword' and the 'shield.'   “The sword being the ability for platforms to remove content and the shield being the liability protection for content posted by users of the platform. “As the Internet has evolved and become deeply integrated into our daily lives, we have encountered new challenges and complexities that require a reevaluation of Section 230's role and impact.”  BIG TECH CENSORSHIP “One of the most pressing concerns is the power that Section 230 has given to social media platforms.   Big Tech is able to limit free speech and silence viewpoints, especially of those they do not agree with. “There are countless instances where individuals and groups with conservative viewpoints have faced censorship, deplatforming, and content moderation practices.   “In contrast, Big Tech continues to leave up highly concerning content.   “The prevalence of illegal activities such as illicit drug sales, human trafficking, and child exploitation on some platforms underscore the need for stronger mechanisms to hold platforms accountable for facilitating or enabling harmful behavior.” LEGAL CHALLENGES TO SECTION 230 “Big Tech’s authoritarian actions have led to several court cases challenging the scope of Section 230’s liability protection.   “Over the years, the courts have shaped the broad interpretation and application of the law.   “Some argue the courts have provided Big Tech with too much liability protection.    “Last year, two high profile cases related to terrorist activity on platforms were considered before the Supreme Court.   “In one case, the law was upheld. In the other case, which challenged Section 230’s application to content promoted by algorithms, the Court declined to rule.   “This year, two more cases are before the Supreme Court related to a State’s ability to regulate how social media platforms moderate content.” MODERNIZING SECTION 230   “It has become clear that Congress never contemplated the Internet as it exists today when Section 230 was enacted.   “While the Courts have too broadly interpreted the original intent of this law, numerous Supreme Court Justices declared last year that it’s up to Congress, not the courts, to reform Section 230. “It’s time for Congress to review the current legal framework that shields Big Tech from accountability for their decisions.   “We must determine how to strike a balance between protecting online speech and holding platforms accountable for their role in amplifying harmful and illegal content. “I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and working with my colleagues for thoughtful and targeted reforms to Section 230.” 


Subcommittee Members

(28)

Chairman Communications and Technology

Bob Latta

R

Ohio – District 5

Vice Chair Communications and Technology

Randy Weber

R

Texas – District 14

Ranking Member Communications and Technology

Doris Matsui

D

California – District 7

Gus Bilirakis

R

Florida – District 12

Tim Walberg

R

Michigan – District 5

Buddy Carter

R

Georgia – District 1

Neal Dunn, M.D.

R

Florida – District 2

John Curtis

R

Utah – District 3

John Joyce

R

Pennsylvania – District 13

Rick Allen

R

Georgia – District 12

Russ Fulcher

R

Idaho – District 1

August Pfluger

R

Texas – District 11

Diana Harshbarger

R

Tennessee – District 1

Mariannette Miller-Meeks

R

Iowa – District 1

Kat Cammack

R

Florida – District 3

Jay Obernolte

R

California – District 23

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

R

Washington – District 5

Yvette Clarke

D

New York – District 9

Marc Veasey

D

Texas – District 33

Darren Soto

D

Florida – District 9

Anna Eshoo

D

California – District 16

Tony Cardenas

D

California – District 29

Angie Craig

D

Minnesota – District 2

Lizzie Fletcher

D

Texas – District 7

Debbie Dingell

D

Michigan – District 6

Ann Kuster

D

New Hampshire – District 2

Robin Kelly

D

Illinois – District 2

Frank Pallone

D

New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters


Jan 17, 2024
Press Release

E&C, China Select Committees Launch Inquiry into Taxpayer Funding Streams Funneled to CCP-Backed Researcher

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), E&C Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), E&C Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, launched an investigation into grants made to an AI scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  The Chairs made requests for documents to UCLA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).  BACKGROUND :  On November 1, 2023, a Newsweek investigation found that the federal government awarded at least $30 million in federal research grants led by Mr. Song-Chun Zhu, who is now “at the forefront of China's race to develop the most advanced artificial intelligence.”  The investigation further revealed the NSF and DOD continued funding Mr. Zhu even as he “set up a parallel institute near Wuhan, took a position at a Beijing university whose primary goal is to support Chinese military research, and joined a CCP ‘talent plan’ whose members are tasked with transferring knowledge and technology to China.”  In particular, Newsweek found that the project once led by Mr. Zhu received $1.2 million in two grants from the Office of Naval Research in 2021, the year following his departure to China.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT:   “Mr. Zhu has openly discussed how if China takes the lead in developing a ‘truly universal intelligence,’ then it will ‘become the winner of the international technology competition.’ He has also referred to the AI race as being equivalent in military importance to the race for the atomic bomb. In a period of intensifying geopolitical competition with the CCP, ceasing federal government support for Chinese AI development is a critical national security imperative.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter to UCLA Chancellor Gener Block.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 



E&C Republicans to NTIA: By Allowing States to Regulate Broadband Rates, NTIA is Ignoring Congressional Intent

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), along with 14 other committee Republicans, sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson raising concerns that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is allowing states to regulate broadband rates under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and ignoring congressional intent.    KEY QUOTE:    “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which created the BEAD Program, explicitly prohibits the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and the NTIA from ‘regulat[ing] the rates charged for broadband service.’ During Senate floor debate on this legislation, members of Congress agreed that this language meant that ‘no rate regulation of broadband services would be authorized or permitted by NTIA or the Assistant Secretary who leads NTIA as part of the state broadband grant program.’  “Based on your testimony, it appears that you are planning to ignore this Congressional direction... you did not foreclose approval of state plans that regulated rates of broadband service. Indeed, when directly asked, ‘Will NTIA permit a state to rate regulate, yes or no,’ you did not provide a yes or no answer and instead stated that NTIA would give states flexibility on how to approach this issue. This ‘flexibility’ to pursue rate regulation is not only concerning, but is strictly prohibited.”  BACKGROUND:   At a December 5 hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Assistant Secretary Davidson repeatedly suggested that NTIA would permit rate regulation by states participating in the BEAD program.  Last week, NTIA followed through on those suggestions by approving Louisiana’s Initial Proposal for BEAD, in which the state sets rates for certain broadband plans.  Assistant Secretary Davidson’s testimony, along with the approval of Louisiana’s proposal, raise serious concerns that NTIA is ignoring Congressional direction and may continue approving proposals that directly regulate the rate of broadband service.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to NTIA. 



Dec 7, 2023
Press Release

House E&C, Senate Commerce Republicans Question Eventbrite over Seemingly Inconsistent Enforcement of Community Guidelines

Letter comes after Eventbrite censored conservative event while permitting pro-Hamas events Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, & Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), along with Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) today wrote Eventbrite President and CEO Julia Hartz. The letter raises concerns over Eventbrite’s enforcement practices. BACKGROUND :  On October 23, 2023, Eventbrite removed an event listing titled, “Protecting Women’s Sports with Riley Gaines,” from its platform.    This event was intended to be a public forum for participants, including female athletes, to express issues, experiences, and consequences of biological males competing in their competitions.  Eventbrite listed “Rahm 4 Palestine (GAZA): Talk & Dinner,” scheduled for October 27, featuring a headline speaker who, after the October 7 Israeli massacre, using his verified X account, publicly posted antisemitic messaging that was viewed more than 1 million times.  A sold-out conference scheduled for November 10 in Washington, D.C., “Palestine Center 2023 Annual Conference,” was promoted on Eventbrite.    In advertising this event, organizers referred to the country of Israel as “Israeli apartheid” under Eventbrite’s “About this event” tab.  KEY LETTER EXCERPTS :  “In the last few weeks, Eventbrite, it seems, has selectively enforced its terms of service by removing some events while allowing potentially violative events to remain on the site. We raise the issues below not to dictate or remove events and users from your marketplace, but to better understand your Community Guidelines enforcement process .”  […]  “We struggle to comprehend the rationale for removing this event, while other Eventbrite listings that seemingly violate several of Eventbrite’s Community Guidelines remain live, including some that feature speakers espousing allegiance to entities designated by the U.S. Government as foreign terrorist organizations.”  […]  “Because Gaines’s promotion of the widely held view to preserve women’s athletics starkly contrasts with events on Eventbrite featuring speakers sympathetic to mass murder, this leads us to wonder if pro-terrorist and antisemitic events and event speakers do not plainly violate Eventbrite’s prohibition of content that would ‘discriminate against, harass, disparage, threaten, incite violence against, or otherwise target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, national origin.’ We seek information on what metrics Eventbrite uses to enforce its Community Guidelines on selected issues such as women’s athletics versus terrorism and antisemitism .”    CLICK HERE to read the full letter.