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Consumer Protection Subcommittee Leader Bilirakis: “We Share Similar Concerns About Big Tech, but the Democrat’s Bills Miss the Target and Hurt the Economy”


03.01.22

Washington, D.C. — Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader for Consumer Protection and Commerce Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) delivered opening remarks at today’s hearing on holding Big Tech accountable.  

TIKTOK REFUSES TO TESTIFY AT E&C 

“Today’s hearing is the third in a series of what the majority calls ‘Holding Big Tech Accountable.’  I certainly hope the fourth will be on a national privacy and data security framework.  

“For the December hearing, the Republicans invited TikTok to testify as they are at the center of so many of our shared concerns. TikTok declined.   

“For this hearing, I appreciate that the majority backed our efforts to invite this company this time. TikTok again declined.   

“Madam Chair, if we put our heads together, I’m sure we can figure out a way to get this company before our panel like so many others who have appeared as part of OUR country’s democratic process.” 

DEMOCRATIC BILLS MISS THE TARGET 

“The legislation today covers a broad range of issues.  While I share many of the same concerns as my colleagues regarding Big Tech’s abuse of power, I worry about proposals that miss the target and hurt other parts of our economy.   

“Without more vetting, these bills will lead to a worse consumer experience, adversely impact American innovators and small businesses, and increase market dominance for large companies, specifically Google.  

“So far this Congress, this committee has heard from academics, industry experts, and consumer advocates.  I’m pleased that today we finally get to hear law enforcement’s perspective.  They are at the front lines of protecting our kids, which is a primary focus in our fight against Big Tech.  

“I’m proud to welcome Mike Duffey, a law enforcement officer based in Florida, who has dedicated more than 20 years of his career to protecting our Floridians and our nation’s children from predators and other dangerous threats online.  

“Law enforcement’s insights are critically important as we consider multiple avenues to rein in the abuses perpetrated by Big Tech. I believe two bills under consideration today will help.” 

REPUBLICAN BILLS HELP PEOPLE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT 

“First, H.R. 6786, the ‘Increasing Consumer’s Education on Law Enforcement Resources Act’ introduced by Rep. Mullin, will require the FTC and Attorney General to develop educational programs and related resources to educate our constituents on law enforcement resources.  

“The second, H.R. 6755, the Cooperation Among Police, Tech, and Users to Resist Exploitation Act or “the CAPTURE Act,” is my legislation to have the Government Accounting Office research recommendations on how to improve coordination and consultation between social media companies and law enforcement, without creating constitutional issues.   

“Those of you on the Communications subcommittee may recognize the “single point of contact” proposal, as it exists in the FirstNet framework.  It’s a good model I’m looking at to apply to tech platforms so Federal, State, and local law enforcement don’t have to guess on who to reach out to at these companies in order to tackle harms online. 

“Given the nexus today’s Democratic bills have on privacy and data security, I know my friend the chair would be disappointed if I didn’t once again emphasize the importance of passing a national privacy and data security law. The House Administration Committee just held a hearing on a national privacy standard. Let that sink in.   

“Madam Chair, I know these issues are important to you, and we know the best way to protect our constituents online is through a national privacy and data security framework.  It is time our subcommittee moves beyond these “one-off” bills that nibble at the edges of privacy and data security concerns.   Leader Rodgers and myself remain committed to working across the aisle with anyone to enact a national privacy and data security law, and I urge my colleagues to join me in these efforts. 

“Thank you to everyone participating today, and I look forward to the discussion, especially how these proposals will help protect our kids online.” 

Press Release