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


Chairs Rodgers and Latta Announce First Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing of the 118th Congress

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and incoming Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) today announced a hearing on ensuring America continues to lead in the burgeoning satellite communications industry.  “Next-generation satellite technologies are revolutionizing the communications marketplace. Yet many of our nation’s laws and regulations haven’t been updated in decades. Given the growth and innovation in this sector, we must ensure the U.S. is keeping pace with this rapidly evolving industry. We look forward to this timely Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on how to ensure America—not China—continues to lead this global industry.”  The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing is Entitled “Launching Into the State of the Satellite Marketplace”   WHAT : A hearing to discuss strengthening American leadership in next-generation satellite communications technology.  DATE: Thursday, February 2, 2023  TIME: 10:30 AM ET  LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES: Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press, and will be livestreamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Noah Jackson with the Committee staff at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov .  



Jan 11, 2023
Big Tech

Chair Rodgers Responds to President Biden’s Comments on Big Tech

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s Wall Street Journal Op Ed today on Big Tech: “President Biden is correct to acknowledge the risks posed by Big Tech for Americans. Rather than trying to address these harms unilaterally through executive action and contorting authority, the administration needs to work with Congress to enact comprehensive privacy protections through one national privacy standard that protects all Americans, especially our kids. Energy and Commerce made significant bipartisan, bicameral progress last year with the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, which included the strongest protections for kids to date. We look forward to President Biden working with us to clear any remaining obstacles standing in the way of a national privacy standard being signed into law. “Additionally, Congress must do more to ensure Big Tech is encouraging more free speech on their platforms, not less, and crack down on the sale of illicit activity, like trafficking fentanyl and sexual exploitation—all of this can be achieved by reforming Section 230. Energy and Commerce Republicans laid the groundwork last Congress with real, workable solutions to address these challenges. Those efforts will continue and I encourage the Biden administration to work with us to reign in Big Tech.” NOTE: E&C Republicans are leading to hold Big Tech accountable and protect people’s privacy online. CLICK HERE to read more about the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. CLICK HERE for more information about E&C Republicans’ Big Tech Accountability Platform.



Dec 20, 2022
Letter

ICYMI: E&C Republicans Question Peer-to-Peer Delivery Services on Fentanyl Deliveries

Last year, more than 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses with 71,000 lives lost due to overdoses caused by fentanyl or its analogues. Many of the transactions of this dangerous drug have been facilitated online. In response to recent reports of Uber Connect being used to deliver drugs, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders sent letters questioning peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery services on what actions they’re taking to prevent their services from being used for transporting illegal drugs, including illicit fentanyl.  In the letters, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Republican Leader Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the members highlight the story of Ann Portillo, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Alex, to a fentanyl poisoning. Alex received the drugs through Uber Connect.  Letters were sent to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Roadie, and Alto.  NBC News reported exclusively on the letters:   NBC— House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to Uber asking the tech company to explain what steps it is taking in response to drivers' complaints that they’re being asked to deliver packages they suspect to be drugs.   The letter from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cites reporting from NBC News that described the concerns of drivers as well as the case of a 22-year-old Arizona woman who died from an overdose of fentanyl that her mother said was delivered via Uber Connect, a courier service that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing app started at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic so that people could send small items across town.   […]   The letter asks Uber to explain what actions the company has taken in response to drivers' complaints about suspected drugs; how the company would work with law enforcement in such a scenario; how many accounts Uber has deactivated as a result of users sending prohibited items; what information Uber collects about packages; and many other questions.   “Just as we have asked social media companies to do their part to curb the sale of drugs on their platforms, Uber must act to ensure Uber Connect is not used to transport untracked shipments of illicit drugs to Americans,” the lawmakers wrote.   The Hill— They said they have supported the development of new technologies and the benefits that the gig economy provides people, but noted that bad actors might take advantage of the service to send harmful products to unaware recipients.   The representatives said that GOP members of the committee previously sent letters to the heads of social media companies on their responsibility to address the spread of fentanyl but that the “crisis” is not just limited to the scope of such companies.   They asked for information including an explanation of the agreement terms for participants of Uber Connect, the number of accounts that have been deactivated after shipping packages with prohibited contents and what information from the sender and recipient Uber Connect gathers.   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Uber.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Lyft.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Roadie.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Alto. 


Subcommittee Members

(29)

Chairman Communications and Technology

Bob Latta

R

Ohio – District 5

Vice Chair Communications and Technology

Buddy Carter

R

Georgia – District 1

Ranking Member Communications and Technology

Doris Matsui

D

California – District 7

Gus Bilirakis

R

Florida – District 12

Tim Walberg

R

Michigan – District 7

Neal Dunn, M.D.

R

Florida – District 2

John Curtis

R

Utah – District 3

John Joyce

R

Pennsylvania – District 13

Randy Weber

R

Texas – District 14

Rick Allen

R

Georgia – District 12

Troy Balderson

R

Ohio – District 12

Russ Fulcher

R

Idaho – District 1

August Pfluger

R

Texas – District 11

Diana Harshbarger

R

Tennessee – 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 18

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

Robin Kelly

D

Illinois – District 2

Frank Pallone

D

New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters


E&C Republican Leaders Demand Briefing with TikTok About the Exploitation of Kids on the Platform

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a letter to TikTok this week following reports over how the company has failed to address the sexual exploitation of kids on its platform. Excerpts and highlights from the  exclusive coverage  by Forbes: “‘TikTok has been incapable of rooting out the spate of TikTok accounts that are trading illegal child sexual content,’ four House lawmakers wrote Wednesday to TikTok’s chief, citing a November Forbes investigation that revealed how illicit private handles on the platform are hiding child abuse material in plain sight—posted using a setting that makes it visible only to the person logged in. “‘Equally troubling are the livestreams your company hosts that allow adult TikTok users to monetarily persuade children to perform sexually suggestive acts,’ the letter continued, citing a separate Forbes investigation, from April, into how adults use TikTok Live to exploit underage girls—by paying them to engage in provocative, potentially illegal behavior. “‘Considering that about half of all U.S. children use TikTok every day, our concerns enumerated above are paramount. … Therefore, we ask you [to] provide the Committee with a briefing as soon as possible, but no later than December 21,’ the memo concluded. It was led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the top Republican on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee who, along with her counterpart on House Oversight, opened an investigation into TikTok in July over China’s ability to access U.S. user data. Reps. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Bob Latta of Ohio also signed onto the letter fired off Wednesday and shared exclusively with Forbes.” CLICK HERE  to read the full Forbes story. CLICK HERE  to read the full letter to TikTok.



Nov 22, 2022
Big Tech

Rodgers, Comer Press TikTok on Data Sharing Practices with Communist China

Details TikTok Provided in a Committee Staff Briefing Appear to be Untrue or Misleading   Washington, D.C.  — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) are raising concerns TikTok provided misleading or false information to the committees about its data sharing and privacy practices with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In a letter to Shou Zi Chew, Chief Executive Officer of TikTok, the Republican lawmakers renew their request for all information about TikTok’s organizational structure and data sharing practices and also notify the social media company to preserve all e-mail, electronic records, and communications.   “On July 14, 2022, we wrote to you requesting documents and information regarding TikTok’s organizational structure and its data sharing and privacy practices relating to China. On July 28, 2022, you responded and on September 7, 2022, your staff provided a bipartisan briefing. However, we still have unanswered questions and you failed to provide responsive documents requested by the Committee. Additionally, some of the information TikTok provided during the staff briefing appears to be untrue or misleading, including that TikTok does not track U.S. user locations,”  wrote the Republican lawmakers.  “The information being withheld is especially relevant considering recent  New York Times  reporting suggesting TikTok and the Biden Administration may be close to an agreement to allow TikTok to remain operational in the U.S. without any major changes to its corporate structure.”  “According to reports, the Biden Administration and TikTok have been negotiating a deal to allow TikTok to remain in operation in the United States. The two sides reportedly came to terms on the foundation of an agreement that includes changes to TikTok’s data security and governance without requiring China-based ByteDance to relinquish its authority over the social media app. Reports indicate TikTok is actively imbedding trackers across the internet to gather Americans’ search data and using the app to track specific location data of designated targets.    “It appears that during the September 7, 2022, briefing by TikTok, the company shared potentially false or misleading information with bipartisan Committee staff. During the briefing, TikTok told staff that: (1) TikTok does not track users’ internet data while not using the application; and (2) that China-based employees do not have access to U.S. users’ location specific data. Both claims appear to be misleading at best, and at worst, false,”  continued the Republican lawmakers.  “It is unclear if this plan included tracking U.S. government officials, journalists, or other public figures. If true, these reports are deeply concerning and provide significant evidence that TikTok may have made misleading statements during its briefing with bipartisan Committee staff.”   Read the letter to TikTok CEO Chew  HERE .



Oct 18, 2022
Letter

Top Energy & Commerce, Financial Services Republicans Seek Answers Regarding PayPal’s Anti-Free Speech Policy

Washington, D.C. —  Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry (R-NC), along with Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Tom Emmer (R-MN), the top Republicans on each Committees’ Oversight Subcommittees, sent a  letter  to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman. The Republican Leaders are seeking answers regarding the recently published, and later removed, changes to PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy that would stifle free speech.  Read the letter to PayPal  here  or below:  “Dear Mr. Schulman:  “Thank you for the briefing provided to Minority staff of the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Financial Services (the Committees) on October 11, 2022. As a follow-up to the briefing, we write to request more information on the changes made to PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). On October 8, 2022, PayPal updated its AUP to prohibit users from transactions that ‘involve the sending, posting or publication of any messages, content, or materials’ that are objectionable as determined by ‘PayPal’s sole discretion.’ A fine of $2,500 would be imposed on objectionable violations, including transactions that promote misinformation, or depict or promote criminal activity. Later that day, a PayPal spokesperson stated that the updated user agreement ‘went out in error’ and ‘included incorrect information.’ A copy of the since removed AUP is attached.  “As a leading financial technology company, it is concerning that a user agreement that contemplates the restriction of free speech was uploaded and disseminated to PayPal users – even if in error. We understand your company is currently investigating this matter. Upon the conclusion of your investigation, we request that you provide a briefing for the Committees as soon as practicable. In addition, to assist the Committees in better understanding PayPal’s processes for changing its AUP, please provide written answers to the following questions:  Where and with whom did the text of the October 8, 2022 AUP originate?  What is PayPal’s approval process for changes made to the AUP? Are there PayPal guidelines that document this process? If so, please share the guidelines related to the AUP. Who is authorized to make the changes?  Did the text that was updated October 8, 2022 go through the typical approval process?  Were the changes made to the AUP on October 8, 2022 ever contemplated within PayPal?  How and at what frequency is the AUP updated?  Were any entities affected by the updated AUP issued October 8, 2022? If so, please list these entities.  What are your internal control policies for making changes to PayPal’s AUP?  What is the notice requirement given to PayPal customers for an updated AUP?  Is there any indication an external party updated the AUP? If not, how do you know?  Are third-party contractors held to same internal protocols and standards as PayPal employees?  With respect to violations of the AUP, is a fined individual notified with specificity?  Is there an appeals process for violations of the AUP? If so, what is it?  In the briefing you provided to the committees you indicated that the company was handling the investigation internally. Can you please provide the process for that investigation?  What is the timeline of your investigation?  Have any PayPal employees met with the Executive Branch regarding disinformation initiatives? If so, please name the employees, their affiliations, and the dates of the meetings.  “Please provide your response as soon as possible, but no later than Thursday, October 27, 2022.”