Innovation, Data, and Commerce


Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Interstate and foreign commerce, including all trade matters within the jurisdiction of the full committee; consumer protection, including privacy matters generally; data security; motor vehicle safety; regulation of commercial practices (the Federal Trade Commission), including sports-related matters; consumer product safety (the Consumer Product Safety Commission); product liability; and regulation of travel, tourism, and time. The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction can be directly traced to Congress’ constitutional authority “to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Subcommittees News & Announcements

Jun 7, 2023

IDC Chair Bilirakis Opening Statement on Strengthening American Leadership in Blockchain Technology

Washington, D.C. —  Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) delivered opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee hearing titled “ Building Blockchains: Exploring Web3 and Other Applications for Distributed Ledger Technologies .” Excerpts and highlights below: THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES “Cryptocurrencies and certain financial aspects of blockchains have hijacked the public’s attention when it comes to this emerging technology. “Today’s hearing will highlight that blockchains are not just impacting Wall Street but are also changing Silicon Valley, and the internet as a whole. “It is essential that Congress accurately understand what it is regulating before it does so. “This is a complicated topic, which is why I’m looking forward to the superb panel of experts educating us here today. “The core issue is about how data is organized, preserved, and protected, which is the jurisdiction of this subcommittee. “As I understand it, a blockchain is a linked list, or ledger, of transactions stored on a network of computers. “Blockchains are composed of building blocks of data chained together cryptographically. “We will walk through these technical components today and discuss what it means for blockchains to be decentralized, immutable, and open. “But to step back from these terms, what we are really discussing here is a new, foundational technology that can provide individuals and businesses new ways to access, record, and validate digital activity online.” BLOCKCHAINS PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES “Web 1.0, the original World Wide Web, lasted from roughly 1993 to 2004, and was characterized by dial up and AOL. “It was replaced by Web 2, which is the current internet we know well, and has been characterized by smartphones and Big Tech platforms. “Web3, which encompasses nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other use cases, is the emerging internet built on top of blockchains and is characterized by increased user control, decentralization, and transparency. “Using these technologies, developers are building new decentralized social media, new messaging apps, new ways to stream music, and new privacy enhancing technologies just to name a few. “Blockchains are not a crypto casino. In fact, according to one report, despite crypto prices falling roughly $2 trillion—a 70 percent decline—blockchain developers have only declined 10 percent. “There are respected developers who aren’t trying to make a fast buck, but rather they’re building a new evolution of the internet. “But this technology goes beyond just Silicon Valley. Blockchains, Web3, and other distributed ledger technologies are just tools. “Like the internet, blockchains will impact many areas of our jurisdiction and can help address challenges with our current internet ecosystem, bolster supply chains, verify information, and increase efficiency for businesses.” THE FTC SHOULD LEAD AGAINST BAD ACTORS “However, we shouldn’t treat this technology as a cure-all. “There are still technical challenges such as scaling, data availability, and cybersecurity. There are also human challenges such as fraudsters and compliance with law enforcement. “As with any new technology, scams do exist in the blockchain ecosystem. “As this committee knows well, the number one federal regulator of scams and fraud is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and that’s where we want its focus. “Instead of diverting resources to fight legal battles over possible competition theories, the FTC should focus on protecting Americans from fraudsters, as these bad actors migrate from older technologies to these new technologies. “Last Congress, my bill the RANSOMWARE Act was signed into law. This legislation requires the FTC to increase cooperation with foreign law enforcement and report on Ransomware and other cyber-security-related attacks. “When international hackers target Americans using blockchains, the FTC should take a lead role in ensuring they are made whole. “Blockchains present an incredible opportunity, but also come with unique challenges. “Regardless, the United States must lead on the international stage so our adversaries do not have an opportunity to set the rules of the road. “We must lead with our values for freedom, human rights, and human dignity. “I look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure these technologies are anchored here in the U.S. and we are central to that discussion.”

Jun 7, 2023

Chair Rodgers Opening Statement on Strengthening American Leadership in Blockchain Technology

Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee hearing titled “ Building Blockchains: Exploring Web3 and Other Applications for Distributed Ledger Technologies .” Excerpts and highlights below: ADVANCING AMERICAN TECHNOLOGICAL LEADERSHIP “This committee plays a vital role in advancing American competitiveness and global technological leadership with our values as you stated, Mr. Chairman, freedom, human rights, and human dignity. “Blockchains, web3, and other applications of distributed ledger technologies represent a new technological shift comparable to the breakthrough of the internet. “We need to ensure that America—not China or Europe—is charting our path to lead in the deployment and standard setting of these technologies. “Our mission on Energy and Commerce is to help foster and promote innovation and American technological leadership. “We led on passing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was foundational to the evolution of the internet. “The innovation and entrepreneurship that followed represented some of the greatest accomplishments in American history, and the world. “We must ensure we can lead the next era of American innovation and entrepreneurship with a regulatory environment that keeps pace with the constantly evolving tech sector. “That’s especially true with blockchains.” E&C CONTINUES TO LEAD IN BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES “For this reason, in 2016, the Energy and Commerce Committee held one of the first Congressional hearings on blockchains. “In the years since, the technology has continued to advance as entrepreneurs have found new and exciting applications. “Additionally, at the end of 2020, my legislation, the American COMPETE Act, was signed into law which required the Department of Commerce to study ways the U.S. can advance several emerging technologies. “Part of the legislation in the package, led by Representatives Guthrie and Soto requires a study on blockchains and ways the Federal government could promote American leadership and adoption. “We continue to wait for this forthcoming report from the Biden administration to provide the Committee with pro-innovation recommendations. “Unfortunately, the report is now far beyond its statutory deadline, as well as the requested extension we allowed.” LOSING GROUND TO OUR ADVERSARIES “As with any new technology, we must move quickly. “While the U.S. led in the creation of the internet, we could easily fall behind with web3, the next generation of the internet. “According to public filing data, less than 40 percent of blockchain companies are headquartered in the U.S., and that number continues to decline. “As we saw with Huawei and 5G, when we don’t lead, our adversaries fill the void.” STRENGTHENING PRIVACY PROTECTIONS “It is critical that America leads, especially given the implications of these new technologies. “Big Tech has developed tools that interact to track Americans both online and offline. “Technologies like distributed ledgers can align with the goals of comprehensive data privacy legislation, by enabling people to reclaim control over their personal online data and limiting any one company’s ability to control and collect the information that we share online.” PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESSES “As these technologies are deployed, and the U.S. develops standards to regulate them, we also have a responsibility to ensure entrepreneurs and small businesses can continue to thrive. We’ve often celebrated they’re the engine of our economy. “While larger companies can navigate complicated regulations, like GDPR in Europe or a patchwork of state laws, smaller businesses cannot afford the high compliance costs. “Embracing innovation, entrepreneurship, and free markets is what’s made America a global technological leader, not overly prescriptive regulations. “While securities and commodities are just one of the many use cases of blockchain technologies, there is a reason the Gramm Leach Bliley Act doesn’t regulate, nor should it, the use of Americans’ personal information outside of the financial sector. “Congress needs to have a conversation about what blockchains are, and are not, to ensure the heavy hand of government regulation doesn’t force blockchain startups to re-evaluate if America is the best location to begin their business. “When this committee worked on the Telecom Act, we never could have predicted the power of the Internet. “Now, as then, we do not know how powerful blockchain technologies will be, but we do know America should lead the way. “I look forward to an informative discussion today.”

Jun 5, 2023
Big Tech

How Your Online Data is Being Abused to Surveil you and Violate Your Freedoms

Do you know how much personal information on you and your family is available online for d ata brokers to harvest without your knowledge?   Data brokers are aggregating your online information to build profiles on you and your family members, which they then sell to anyone willing to pay. That includes government agencies, which are paying these data brokers to spy on Americans, creating an ecosystem of surveillance that jeopardizes peoples’ data privacy and security, and violates our civil liberties.  HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS USING DATA BROKERS TO SPY ON AMERICANS:   A California County hired a data broker to track the location and number of people attending church during government-enforced COVID-19 lockdowns. The location data was so specific that the county was able to identify how many people visited each structure within the church’s property.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used taxpayer dollars to hire a data mining and surveillance company to screen travelers , including U.S. citizens, by linking people’s social media posts to personal information like their Social Security number and location data. This is particularly troubling given DHS’ recent attempt to establish a disinformation governance board to surveil and censor Americans online.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used a data broker company to collect personal data on investigative journalist Matt Taibbi who—through his Twitter Files reporting—was exposing the government's collusion with Big Tech to censor Americans and control what they see online. The IRS visited Taibbi’s home unannounced the same day he testified before Congress on the weaponization of the federal government.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) paid $420,000 to a data broker for access to Americans’ location data, which was harvested from tens of millions of Americans’ phones. This data was then used by the CDC to monitor whether Americans were complying with curfews and track who was visiting K-12 schools.  BOTTOM LINE: The Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating data brokers’ unrestrained collection of Americans’ data, and their ability to sell our most sensitive information to anyone including to government agencies. This is the type of behavior we would expect from the Chinese Communist Party—not the United States.   NEXT STEPS: The best way to protect Americans’ personal information online and end this surveillance state is with a comprehensive data privacy and security law, which would:  Give Americans more control over their data;   Bring these data brokers out from the shadows; Preserve law enforcement’s ability to protect their communities; and   Prevent the government from buying data from data brokers to violate people's civil liberties.   Read more about the Energy and Commerce Committee's bipartisan efforts to strengthen data security and privacy protections for Americans across the country, no matter where they live.   Expert Warns Data Brokers Profit from Unregulated Surveillance   We’ve Waited Long Enough for a National Privacy Standard  

Subcommittee Members


Chairman Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Gus Bilirakis


Florida – District 12

Vice Chair Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Tim Walberg


Michigan – District 5

Ranking Member Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Jan Schakowsky


Illinois – District 9

Larry Bucshon


Indiana – District 8

Jeff Duncan


South Carolina – District 3

Neal Dunn, M.D.


Florida – District 2

Debbie Lesko


Arizona – District 8

Greg Pence


Indiana – District 6

Kelly Armstrong


North Dakota - At Large

Rick Allen


Georgia – District 12

Russ Fulcher


Idaho – District 1

Diana Harshbarger


Tennessee – District 1

Kat Cammack


Florida – District 3

Cathy McMorris Rodgers


Washington – District 5

Kathy Castor


Florida – District 14

Debbie Dingell


Michigan – District 6

Robin Kelly


Illinois – District 2

Lisa Blunt Rochester



Darren Soto


Florida – District 9

Lori Trahan


Massachusetts – District 3

Yvette Clarke


New York – District 9

Frank Pallone


New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters

May 10, 2023
Press Release

E&C Leaders Continue Bipartisan Investigation into Data Brokers' Potential Exploitation of Americans' Privacy

Members press companies to answer what information is collected and where it is sold Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Committee Democrats, led by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), today wrote to the heads of data broker companies, requesting information to help the Committee protect Americans’ data from misuse. They were joined by Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Ranking Member Kathy Castor (D-FL), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) and Ranking Member Doris Matsui (D-CA).  BACKGROUND:   The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations launched a bipartisan investigation at a hearing on April 19, 2023, titled “Who is Selling Your Data: A Critical Examination of the Role of Data Brokers in the Digital Economy.”  Data brokers purchase, collect, aggregate, license, sell, or otherwise share a wide range of information from Americans, including but not limited to demographic, location, and health data.  These companies profit from trading in Americans’ personal information, including sensitive information, often with little government oversight and in some cases, without any concern for how buyers use the consumer data that they purchase from brokers.  A recent study from Duke University found, for example, that “some data brokers are marketing highly sensitive data on individuals’ mental health conditions on the open market, with seemingly minimal vetting of customers and seemingly few controls on the use of purchased data.”  KEY EXCERPT:   “American privacy concerns in the data broker industry are not new, and existing laws do not sufficiently protect Americans’ data from misuse. In 2014, the FTC issued a report recommending that Congress require data brokers to increase transparency and give Americans more control of their data. However, data brokers can easily circumvent existing rules and laws regarding the collection and sharing of certain types of data, such as HIPAA.   “Enacting a comprehensive federal privacy law is a top priority for the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Currently, Americans do not have control over whether and where their personal data is sold and shared; they have no guaranteed way to access, delete, or correct their data; and, they have no ability to stop the unchecked collection of their sensitive personal information. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the overcollection and secondary uses of personal data, including the sale to and use by data brokers, are inconsistent with the reasonable expectations of online consumers and may lead to discriminatory targeting that violates the privacy and autonomy of consumers.”  The leaders asked the companies for information pertinent to helping the Committee understand how data brokers purchase, collect, use, license, and sell Americans’ data, including:  What data elements do you possess on Americans and market to your clients?   In particular, do you possess any of the following:  Americans’ health data? If yes, what kind of health data?  Americans’ location data? If yes, what data elements?  Americans’ phone data, such as data on any apps downloaded on their mobile devices? If yes, what data elements?  Information revealing Americans’ purchase history? If yes, what data elements?  Information about children under the age of 13?  Information about children between the ages of 13 and 18?  Are there any categories of Americans’ personal information that you will not purchase, collect, aggregate, license, or sell and, if so, what categories are those?  When you license, sell, or otherwise share Americans’ personal information with your clients, do you require your clients to disclose the purpose(s) for which they will use the data?   If so, what do you do, if anything, to confirm they are using the data for the stated purpose(s)?  How much money did you spend in each of the past five years on purchasing or licensing Americans’ personal information?  What percentage of your annual revenue for each of the past five years was derived from selling or licensing Americans’ personal information?  How many clients did you sell or license Americans’ personal information to?  Does your company use the personal information of Americans that you purchase, collect, or aggregate to categorize people based on income, sex, age, race, or other categories?  What steps, if any, does your company take to protect data of users under eighteen?  When you become aware that you or your clients have transferred Americans’ personal information to a foreign adversary or a company beholden to a foreign adversary—currently defined by the Secretary of Commerce to include China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and Iran—do you notify the individual(s) whose personal information has been transferred or any U.S. government entity? If not, why not?  You can view the letters below:  Acxiom LLC AtData Babel Street   CoreLogic Solutions, LLC   Epsilon Data Management, LLC Equifax   Experian   Gravy Analytics, Inc. Intelius, LLC Kochava Inc. LiveRamp, Inc. Mylife   Oracle America, Inc.   PeopleConnect, Inc.   RELX Safegraph Inc. Spokeo, Inc.   Thomson Reuters   TransUnion   Verisk Analytics   Whitepages, Inc.

E&C Republicans Demand Accountability from Biden Admin over CHIPS Act Spending

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) today requested a full accounting from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo of funding from the CHIPS and Science Act.  The letter follows an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing at which the Department of Commerce Inspector General Peggy Gustafon provided the following testimony :  "The increased funding may also increase the volume and complexity of financial transactions, thus making it more difficult to detect and prevent payment errors, fraud, waste, and abuse. The increase in funding may require additional monitoring and reporting to ensure project recipients comply with statutes, achieve intended outcomes, and use funds efficiently. Finally, the increased funding may introduce new or emerging risks that must be identified and addressed in a timely fashion." KEY COMMITTEE LETTER EXCERPT:   “Over the past two years, under one-party Democratic rule, Congress and the Biden administration have spent trillions of dollars across the federal government. Beginning with the American Rescue Plan Act and most recently with the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats have funneled an excessive amount of taxpayer dollars to advance their radical, progressive agenda and to benefit their political allies. The CHIPS and Science Act granted the Department of Commerce (the Department) control of $50 billion to spend on semiconductor activities, including $39 billion in manufacturing incentives. The American people deserve a full, transparent, and regular accounting of the funds that have been spent, where the funds have gone and for what purpose, who has benefited, and how much remains." The Chairs requested monthly reports beginning on no later than April 18, 2023.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

Feb 23, 2023
Press Release

E&C GOP Chairs Lay Out Expectations for Biden Agency Cooperation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Jeff Duncan (R-SC) wrote to the heads of the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Commerce laying out expectations for intergovernmental cooperation regarding oversight. As Chair Rodgers said in the full committee markup of Energy and Commerce’s Authorization and Oversight Plan for the 118th Congress, “We have a responsibility to conduct oversight to get answers on behalf of those we serve and to ensure accountability so the government is responsive to the American people.” The members outline the below seven principles for each agency or department to comply with Congressional requests and provide answers the American people deserve. 1. For all requests or questions, please reproduce the requests or questions presented in a written letter with the department or agency response. 2. In the spirit of comity and inter-branch accommodation, your department or agency should endeavor to cooperate as much as possible with committee oversight requests. If your department or agency has determined it will not voluntarily cooperate with the requests, please provide electronic written notice within two business days specifying which requests you are declining to cooperate with and the stated reasons for voluntary noncooperation. 3. Your department or agency should make a determination on whether certain requests cannot be fulfilled as presented. Provide electronic written notice within one business week of receipt of the request about such determinations, stating the reasons why. If there is an alternative approach that could address the Committee’s request, then such an alternative approach should be suggested in the interests of comity and inter-branch accommodation. 4. If the department or agency needs clarification about a Committee request, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 5. We expect your department or agency to provide a written response to our oversight requests within two weeks of receipt of the letter. If the department or agency needs additional time to respond to Committee requests, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 6. If your department or agency has determined that certain requested documents cannot be produced pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit an index of the withheld documents and the privilege asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. 7. If your department has determined that a requested witness cannot be made available pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit in writing an explanation of the privilege or other legal basis asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. CLICK HERE to view the letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. CLICK HERE to view the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.