Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Subcommittee

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


May 23, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Bilirakis Opening Remarks at IDC Markup

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee markup of three bills:  As prepared for delivery: “Good morning, and welcome to today’s Subcommittee markup where we will consider three significant Subcommittee priority pieces of legislation to protect Americans’ data privacy rights, protect kids online, and preserve access to AM radio. “I want to thank all the Subcommittee members for their input and feedback on these topics, and I am looking forward to continuing productive conversations in a bipartisan manner to refine these bills as we move through the legislative process.  “We have a historic opportunity to advance legislation that will end the patchwork and finally provide a federal standard to govern how Americans’ personal information is collected, stored, retained, and transferred.  “The American Privacy Rights Act is the strongest consumer data privacy and security framework to date—it provides businesses with certainty through a national preemptive standard, secures individual liberties through strong data minimization provisions, and cements America’s global leadership through data security provisions that warn consumers when their information is being collected and shared with our foreign adversaries, like China and Russia.“  YEARS OF CONGRESSIONAL EFFORT  “For years, Congress has long tried to thread the needle when it comes to getting a national data privacy bill enacted into law, given the many differences in approach from both sides of the political spectrum.  “I want to applaud Chair Rodgers and Chair Cantwell for their tireless efforts to move forward with a framework that strikes this critical balance, as well as all the members on both sides of the aisle that have provisions included in the draft before us today.  “I understand many stakeholders have continued to engage with every office on their requests, and I look forward to hearing from my colleagues about how we can continue to incorporate that feedback.  “I’m thankful for all the constructive comments we’ve received up to this point.  “This is certainly not the last opportunity to deliberate and refine this draft further. “But time is of the essence, so let’s continue to move this process forward to protect Americans privacy rights, promote individual freedoms and civil liberties, and secure data from abuse by bad actors.”  KOSA  “In addition to APRA, I’m proud that we are also considering my bill, H.R. 7891, the Kids Online Safety Act.  “I’m thankful to Rep. Castor for her partnership on this effort, as well as the many colleagues on this Subcommittee who’ve cosponsored our legislation.  Sadly, in the face of an unprecedented youth mental health crisis in this nation, Big Tech has continued to turn a blind eye to harms perpetuated on their online platforms.   “Congress has been forced to step in to ensure children and parents have the safeguards, tools, and transparency measures they need to stay safe.   “KOSA requires the prevention and mitigation of harms to minors, such as the promotion of suicide, depression, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and illegal drug sales such as fentanyl.  “Too often we’ve seen the design features of social media fuel these problems, rather than prevent them.  “This legislation is not perfect, and I’m hopeful conversations today can illuminate how we can better establish needed protections for children.”  PRESERVING AM RADIO  “Lastly, the Subcommittee will be taking a bipartisan bill I’m leading with Ranking Member Pallone, the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act .  “At our legislative hearing, we heard from our witnesses about the importance of having a robust emergency alert and public safety communications infrastructure.  “Further, rural and underserved Americans still enjoy listening to AM radio broadcasts for their diverse viewpoints.   “Given AM radio’s significant reach as a medium, much of it taking place in vehicles, we must ensure it remains a readily available option for all Americans, particularly as we approach hurricane season.   “I’m proud to partner with Ranking Member Pallone on this initiative and look forward to advancing it through Subcommittee today.  “In closing, I look forward to working with all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today to get these critical bills across the finish line."



May 23, 2024
In the News

NBC News: Republicans and Democrats in Congress See Critical Window to Shield Online Data

Today, the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee is holding a markup of the American Privacy Rights Act to establish one national standard for data privacy and security for people of all ages— including kids —in all 50 states. The bipartisan, bicameral draft legislation gives Americans control over where their information goes and who can sell it, empowers individuals to enforce their data privacy rights, and reins in Big Tech. Don’t miss key excerpts from NBC’s article highlighting the bill below: “The presidential election is a little more than five months away, but key Republicans and Democrats in Congress see a critical window to pass sweeping legislation to shield the online data of both children and adults from Big Tech companies. “‘I believe that there’s a moment here where, on behalf of the American people, Congress needs to act,’ House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said in an interview on the steps of the Capitol. “‘There’s a recognition, on behalf of protecting our kids online, in protecting all Americans, that we need to ensure that there are privacy rights in place … and that our identity is being protected online and that we’re in control of our data,’ she said. “The Energy and Commerce subcommittee that oversees online data will take the first step in trying to advance the privacy legislation, holding a markup Thursday on the American Privacy Rights Act, broad legislation that includes privacy protections for kids and adults, as well as the Kids Online Safety Act.” [...] “A revised draft bill was announced this week to address critics’ concerns. “The American Privacy Rights Act would create national consumer data privacy rights and set federal standards for securing people’s data rather than have a patchwork of state laws. Among other things, the legislation would require companies to be clear about how they use people’s data and ‘give consumers the right to access, correct, delete, and export their data,’ according to a bill summary. The bill would also limit how companies collect and use data and ban transferring certain data to third parties without consent. “The measure includes the bipartisan bill to protect kids' and teens' online data, known as COPPA 2.0. “‘I see the American Privacy Rights Act as foundational to protecting kids online, foundational to protecting our individual identity online,’ McMorris Rodgers said. “The bipartisan privacy bill is gathering momentum just weeks after McMorris Rodgers and Cantwell reached a compromise on legislation that forces TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell the popular video-sharing app or face a ban in the U.S. President Joe Biden signed the TikTok bill into law as part of a larger national security package.” CLICK HERE to read the full article. CLICK HERE to learn more about how APRA is foundational to protecting kids online. CLICK HERE for how APRA will help small businesses grow and thrive.



May 23, 2024
Markups

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Markup of 3 Legislative Proposals

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee markup of three legislative proposals:  “Our personal identity is at the very core of what makes us human.   “It drives us to achieve the impossible and inspires us to pursue our goals and dreams. The ability to express our individual identity helps define who we are and deepen ties to our families and our communities.  “Encouraging individualism and identity is something that’s uniquely American, something the founders envisioned and fought for—a society that’s fiercely individual, where people are free to think, speak, and live their lives the way they want.   “Many believed that the internet could empower the individual even more by creating new ways for people and businesses to connect, innovate, and share information. “Unfortunately, trust has been broken.  “Instead, over time our identity has been slowly eroded our identity, freedom to think for ourselves manipulated, and Big Tech is capturing more and more data to surveil and control over our lives.   “Americans should be in control of how that information is disclosed, and it should be voluntary, not coerced.   “If the founders were here today, they would know, as we know, that this digital tyranny is not the American Dream.”  AMERICAN PRIVACY RIGHTS ACT   “The American Privacy Rights Act is an opportunity for a reset, one that can help return us to the American Dream our Founders envisioned.   “It gives people the right to control their personal information online, something the American people overwhelmingly want. They’re tired of having their personal information abused for profit.   “Right now, a person’s location, for instance, can be shared without their knowledge or permission by apps on their phone.  “This bill stops those apps from sharing or selling this data without permission.  “If a person searches the internet about something personal or something they want kept private that information could be tracked with hidden pixels and shared without them knowing about it.  “This bill keeps people's search history private.  “If someone buys a pair of shoes online, they almost instantly are bombarded with ads across the platforms they use.  “The American Privacy Rights Act gives the power back to the people by equipping them with the knowledge of how their data is being used to monetize, manipulate, and exploit them.” PROTECTING KIDS ONLINE   “This legislation is so important, and it is especially foundational for protecting kids online.  “The average American teenager spends 4.8 hours a day scrolling social media platforms. “I’m a mom. I have three young kids. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It’s my biggest fear: what’s going to happen online with my kids, because I don’t trust what’s happening at all. “As our kids scroll, companies collect nearly every data point imaginable to build profiles on them and keep them addicted.   “They intentionally target children with dangerous and life-threatening content.   “At our hearing last month, we heard from a young woman, Ava, who shared how Big Tech weaponized her data, collecting this arsenal of data and exploited her vulnerabilities.  “Ava’s story is just one of countless we’ve heard from kids, young adults, and families across the country.  “This legislation gets to the root cause of these problems by minimizing the collection and exploitation of our data.   “It serves as a strong foundation from which to layer on other important policies to protect kids online, like the Kids Online Safety Act, which I’m excited we’re also considering today.  “This draft includes key provisions from the Children Online Privacy Protection Act.  “I’d like to thank Reps. Walberg, Castor, and Senators Markey and Cassidy, for working with us.”  HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS THRIVE   “We can achieve stronger protections for people while also continuing to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.   “18 states now have comprehensive data privacy laws, which means 18 different sets of rules that growing small businesses and startups are forced to navigate.   “Ensuring compliance is costly.  “Just last week, I had a company tell me they may be forced to pull out of certain states because they simply cannot comply with these conflicting standards.  “Our bill would end this patchwork.  “Today, we’ll also be marking up H.R. 8449, the A.M. Radio for Every Vehicle Act, led by Reps. Bilirakis and Pallone.  “Millions across the country rely on AM radio for critical information, especially during public emergencies. “It’s vital we preserve this resource for Americans. “In the nearly 230-year history of this Committee, we have established a rich tradition of taking on the hard problems and delivering solutions for the people. “We have a moment to change the status quo and reset what our online ecosystem looks like.   “The American Privacy Rights Act is a common sense, bipartisan, bicameral proposal. “I’m grateful for Senator Cantwell for working with me on this landmark legislation, as well as Ranking Member Pallone, who has been a trusted partner over the years as we have worked together on privacy and worked to improve this current draft.  “As John Dingell has been known to say, there hasn’t been a perfect law since Moses came down from the mountain.  “I urge my colleagues to advance the legislation today and I look forward to continuing working with all members and stakeholders to further perfect it before the full committee markup.” 


Subcommittee Members

(22)

Chairman Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Gus Bilirakis

R

Florida – District 12

Vice Chair Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Tim Walberg

R

Michigan – District 5

Ranking Member Innovation, Data, and Commerce

Jan Schakowsky

D

Illinois – District 9

Larry Bucshon, M.D.

R

Indiana – District 8

Jeff Duncan

R

South Carolina – District 3

Neal Dunn, M.D.

R

Florida – District 2

Debbie Lesko

R

Arizona – District 8

Kelly Armstrong

R

North Dakota - At Large

Russ Fulcher

R

Idaho – District 1

Diana Harshbarger

R

Tennessee – District 1

Kat Cammack

R

Florida – District 3

Jay Obernolte

R

California – District 23

John James

R

Michigan – District 10

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

R

Washington – District 5

Kathy Castor

D

Florida – District 14

Debbie Dingell

D

Michigan – District 6

Robin Kelly

D

Illinois – District 2

Lisa Blunt Rochester

D

Delaware

Darren Soto

D

Florida – District 9

Lori Trahan

D

Massachusetts – District 3

Yvette Clarke

D

New York – District 9

Frank Pallone

D

New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters


Jan 17, 2024
Press Release

E&C, China Select Committees Launch Inquiry into Taxpayer Funding Streams Funneled to CCP-Backed Researcher

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), E&C Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), E&C Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, launched an investigation into grants made to an AI scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  The Chairs made requests for documents to UCLA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).  BACKGROUND :  On November 1, 2023, a Newsweek investigation found that the federal government awarded at least $30 million in federal research grants led by Mr. Song-Chun Zhu, who is now “at the forefront of China's race to develop the most advanced artificial intelligence.”  The investigation further revealed the NSF and DOD continued funding Mr. Zhu even as he “set up a parallel institute near Wuhan, took a position at a Beijing university whose primary goal is to support Chinese military research, and joined a CCP ‘talent plan’ whose members are tasked with transferring knowledge and technology to China.”  In particular, Newsweek found that the project once led by Mr. Zhu received $1.2 million in two grants from the Office of Naval Research in 2021, the year following his departure to China.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT:   “Mr. Zhu has openly discussed how if China takes the lead in developing a ‘truly universal intelligence,’ then it will ‘become the winner of the international technology competition.’ He has also referred to the AI race as being equivalent in military importance to the race for the atomic bomb. In a period of intensifying geopolitical competition with the CCP, ceasing federal government support for Chinese AI development is a critical national security imperative.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter to UCLA Chancellor Gener Block.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 



Dec 20, 2023
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Bilirakis Press China-Based Online Marketplaces on Potential Data Privacy and Human Rights Violations

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), on behalf of subcommittee Republicans, sent a letter to China-based e-commerce companies raising concerns over data privacy and security risks for American users, the counterfeit products flourishing on these platforms, and reports of horrific human rights abuses.   BACKGROUND:   China-based e-commerce marketplaces, like TikTok, TaoBao, Pinduoduo, Temu, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Shein, have recently increased in popularity in the U.S.  The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) requires that all Chinese tech companies allow the CCP to access all user information, raising serious data privacy and security concerns for Americans using these platforms .  These marketplaces commonly offer “knock off” versions of products, which often undermine intellectual property laws.  Furthermore, reports have alleged that some of the sellers on these platforms may have committed egregious human rights violations, including the use of forced labor and the selling of products, like wigs, that use hair from Uyghur women forced to shave their heads.  KEY LETTER EXCERPTS:   “The rise in popularity of apps and marketplaces like, TikTok, TaoBao, Pinduoduo, Temu, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Shein, has resulted in sharp public scrutiny regarding the business practices of these companies.”  […]  “Lax policies and practices are leaving American’s data at risk of theft, leading consumers to unknowingly purchase counterfeit goods. In addition to these lax policies and practices, it is important to ensure that supply chains are free of forced labor.”  The Chairs asked companies to respond to the following questions by January 12, 2024:   Please outline the steps taken to delete personal data when requested or ordered by a user, the parent of a user who is a minor, or others authorized to make such a request.  What protections do you have in place to prevent children from spending large amounts of money on your platform?  What data practices do you require of your third-parties?  What data practices do you require of your service providers?  Please individually confirm you are not collecting or compiling the following information:  Religious beliefs;  Political opinions;  Genetic data;  Biometric data;  Data concerning health;  Data concerning racial or ethnic origin;  Data about minors.  Similar to ByteDance, does your company have an internal CCP Committee?  Please document all meetings, communication, or interactions you—or any other senior company executives—have had with members of the Chinese government or the CCP while serving as officers.   Can you provide a complete software bill of materials for all components and components of the components in the mobile app? Please include the developer information and country of origin for all listed components.  Where does your company store the signing key for iOS and Android applications? How is access to the signing keys managed, and who are the developers with access to the signing keys for the mobile application?  Please detail the data security and protections you have to prevent unauthorized access to such signing key.  How frequently is your mobile app or backend security tested? Are they tested by US personnel? To what security standard are they tested?  How frequently is user location data transmitted? Within how many feet is this location data measured?  What compliance procedures do you have in place to ensure compliance with the INFORM Consumers Act ?  We have heard employees of companies associated with the Chinese government, such as TikTok, disagree with notion that Uyghur people are facing a genocide in the Xinjian region of China. Do you agree that there is a genocide occurring in the Xinjiang region of China?  Are you aware of the PRC’s persecution of the Uyghur people, including the reports that Uyghur women’s heads have been shaved to be used for products that are shipped into the U.S.?  Are there products using natural hair that originate in the Xinjiang region available on your e-commerce marketplace?  Are there any other products that have originated from, or contain components or material that originated from the Xinjiang region?  Given the human rights abuses occurring in the Xinjiang region, do you require any additional steps or increased scrutiny for products coming from such region?   If yes, please explain.   Can you unequivocally state that your supply chain is free of forced labor?  What steps are you taking to ensure that your supply chain does not include forced labor?   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to TikTok.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Whaleco Inc.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Alibaba.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Shein. 



Dec 7, 2023
Press Release

House E&C, Senate Commerce Republicans Question Eventbrite over Seemingly Inconsistent Enforcement of Community Guidelines

Letter comes after Eventbrite censored conservative event while permitting pro-Hamas events Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, & Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), along with Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) today wrote Eventbrite President and CEO Julia Hartz. The letter raises concerns over Eventbrite’s enforcement practices. BACKGROUND :  On October 23, 2023, Eventbrite removed an event listing titled, “Protecting Women’s Sports with Riley Gaines,” from its platform.    This event was intended to be a public forum for participants, including female athletes, to express issues, experiences, and consequences of biological males competing in their competitions.  Eventbrite listed “Rahm 4 Palestine (GAZA): Talk & Dinner,” scheduled for October 27, featuring a headline speaker who, after the October 7 Israeli massacre, using his verified X account, publicly posted antisemitic messaging that was viewed more than 1 million times.  A sold-out conference scheduled for November 10 in Washington, D.C., “Palestine Center 2023 Annual Conference,” was promoted on Eventbrite.    In advertising this event, organizers referred to the country of Israel as “Israeli apartheid” under Eventbrite’s “About this event” tab.  KEY LETTER EXCERPTS :  “In the last few weeks, Eventbrite, it seems, has selectively enforced its terms of service by removing some events while allowing potentially violative events to remain on the site. We raise the issues below not to dictate or remove events and users from your marketplace, but to better understand your Community Guidelines enforcement process .”  […]  “We struggle to comprehend the rationale for removing this event, while other Eventbrite listings that seemingly violate several of Eventbrite’s Community Guidelines remain live, including some that feature speakers espousing allegiance to entities designated by the U.S. Government as foreign terrorist organizations.”  […]  “Because Gaines’s promotion of the widely held view to preserve women’s athletics starkly contrasts with events on Eventbrite featuring speakers sympathetic to mass murder, this leads us to wonder if pro-terrorist and antisemitic events and event speakers do not plainly violate Eventbrite’s prohibition of content that would ‘discriminate against, harass, disparage, threaten, incite violence against, or otherwise target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, national origin.’ We seek information on what metrics Eventbrite uses to enforce its Community Guidelines on selected issues such as women’s athletics versus terrorism and antisemitism .”    CLICK HERE to read the full letter.