WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) joined Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) this week in introducing the Balancing the Right of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017 to protect the online privacy of Americans.

"As a Member of the House Homeland Security Committee's Cybersecurity Subcommittee, internet privacy and security must be a top priority.  Step one in that process was to override any regulation that creates more confusion by giving jurisdiction to multiple agencies, only to have them regulate only one-half of the digital world.  Step two in that process is to introduce comprehensive internet privacy legislation that will more fully protect online users in their use of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), search engines and social media,” said Fitzpatrick.  “The BROWSER Act does just that.  We must offer American citizens real internet privacy protection, not mere lip service which gives internet users false expectations about their level of online security.  I encourage all House members who are serious about protecting our constituents' online privacy to join me in advancing this bill."  

Several weeks ago, Blackburn led an effort to repeal the FCC’s privacy rulemaking. “The FCC’s privacy rulemaking had two distinct problems,” Blackburn said. “First, it created confusion by establishing two privacy regulators. The FCC unilaterally swiped jurisdiction from the FTC in a blatant power grab. Second, the FCC focused on only one part of the Internet eco-system and ignored edge provider services that collect as much, if not more data, than ISPs. The government should not pick winners and losers when it comes to the privacy of Americans. This bill creates a level and fair privacy playing field by bringing all entities that collect and sell the personal data of individuals under the same rules. We look forward to working with our Democratic colleagues on this important initiative.”

The legislation designates the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the nation’s sole online privacy enforcer and brings internet service providers (ISPs) and edge providers under a regime similar to that previously adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

To read the text of the bill, click here.