Blackburn Works With Democratic Sen. Baldwin to Introduce Bill to Improve Internet Infrastructure In Rural Areas

U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on Thursday introduced SB 1166, the Internet Exchange (IX) Act, which will help to improve internet access for consumers, especially in rural areas.

The senators made the announcement on Twitter, available here, and in a press release, which is available here.

“You can’t have a 21st century education, 21st century healthcare, or a 21st century business without access to 21st century internet,” said Blackburn. “The bipartisan IX Act will make big strides in closing the digital divide in Tennessee by providing internet access to areas with the highest degree of need.”

Baldwin said, “We need to strengthen our internet infrastructure to better serve Middle America and rural communities, and improve the online experience for people in all parts of our country. This bipartisan measure will help expand broadband access across our country. By investing in our internet infrastructure and adding more internet exchanges in Wisconsin and throughout the heartland, we can help more rural households and rural businesses gain better access to high-speed internet.”

Blackburn has been busy this week working on internet-related initiatives.

On Wednesday, Blackburn told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Its time for tech companies like Google and Facebook to start embracing the spirit of the First Amendment,” The Tennessee Star reported. The senator made the remarks during a hearing titled, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.”

Blackburn also on Wednesday introduced SB1116, the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act.

The BROWSER Act requires communications and technology companies to provide users with clear and conspicuous notice of their privacy policies and the ability to opt-in to the collection of sensitive information and to opt-out of the collection of non-sensitive information. It also prohibits these companies from denying their service to users who refuse to waive their privacy rights, empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce these rules, and ensures the nation has a consistent national law regarding online privacy.

Blackburn (R-TN) and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Monday called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into online platforms over privacy concerns, data security and antitrust violations, The Star reported.

The letter comes a few weeks after U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-01), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, asked for the FTC to probe whether Facebook has violated antitrust laws, The Hill said.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.









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