i2Coalition July 2019 Legislative Update
This is a brief legislative update for the public. Join the i2Coalition for in-depth updates from our Policy Director available only to members.
The House and Senate are back in session for a two week work session before heading out for August recess. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said her priorities for the session are the budget and having a debt ceiling deal before recess. Last week the House passed the $733 billion National Defense Authorization Act along partisan lines. The much anticipated “Mueller Hearings” previously scheduled before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees for July 17th have been delayed a week. The Senate will work the last week of July, one longer than the House. Both chambers are set to reconvene September 9th.
UPCOMING RELEVANT HEARINGS and DATES
House Judiciary, Online Platforms and Market Power Part 2: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
2:00 p.m. 2141 Rayburn.
House Financial Services, “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System.” 10:00 a.m., 2128 Rayburn.
Senate Judiciary, IP Subcommittee, “Oversight of the United States Copyright Office.” 2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen.
Senate Judiciary, Antitrust Subcommittee, “Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws.” 2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen.
Section 230: Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the “Ending Support of Internet Censorship Act” in June, which reignited the conversation around intermediary liability. The bill has a carve out for small to medium sized businesses and focus on big tech. Among other things, it removes automatic Section 230 protections for “big tech” companies. The bill language can be found here:https://www.hawley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019-06/Ending-Support-Internet-Censorship-Act-Bill-Text.pdf . A group of conservative organizations pushed back against changes to Section 230 generally in a letter to Congress that went out last week.https://www.protectingtaxpayers.org/wp-content/uploads/S230-Letter-to-Congress-with-Logos-1.pdf
During a hearing focused on protecting children online, Senator Hawley discussed his bill. Senators Cruz, Blumenthal, and Graham renewed their concerns about Section 230 during the conversation. No other specific actions or discussion about a rumored working group were raised.
France Moves Against Hate Speech: France is one step closer to adopting a law against online hate speech that requires platforms such as Google, Twitter and Facebook to remove flagged hateful content within 24 hours or face fines. Earlier this month, the National Assembly voted to approve most of the draft law amid pushback from opposition parties and civil society groups, which say the law could usher in censorship and the removal of lawful content.
White House Social Media Summit – On July 11th, the White House hosted a Social Media Summit comprised mostly of conservative social media activists. The core message was bias against conservative ideas on the large online platforms. The President also called for narratives about bias and called for more activism to promote conservative ideas.
- U.K. Digital Services Tax – The U.K. has proposed a 2% tax on internet companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. The draft legislation closely followed France’s approval of a digital services tax, which was met with an unfair trade practices investigation from the Trump administration.
- China – The U.S. and China have resumed discussions after a two-month gap, but concede difficulty in resolving the few remaining issues on the table.
- USMCA – Debate between the Administration, Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee and House Democrats continue. Delays in moving the legislation are labor, environment, enforcement, and drug prices; those are unlikely to be resolved before fall.
- Hill Privacy Work: House and Senate negotiators are working on various legislative frameworks and holding meetings about privacy issues and possible bills. No definitive ideas have emerged from these conversations.
- California Consumer Privacy Work: A bill in the California Senate that would have drastically altered the CCPA was pulled from hearing consideration last week and is likely dead for the year. CA AB1416 would have allowed businesses to share the personal information of consumers for purposes of complying with “any” government program or for fraud detection, even if customers opted out of having their data collected and shared.
As a follow to the trio of Transatlantic dialogues held by the i2Coalition and eco, the two organizations released a joint statement on the importance of a data protection agreement ahead of the G-20 meetings. The full report is here:https://international.eco.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/G20-Ministerial-Statement2.pdf .