Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Net neutrality is about consumer protection

When it comes to hurting businesses, schools and families in rural Oregon, the Federal Communications Commission decision to pull the plug in 2018 on network neutrality really hurts. As the first senator who introduced net neutrality legislation in the Senate more than a decade ago, I am proud to stand on the front lines of 2019’s national fight for a solution that puts real enforceable net neutrality rules back on the books. Everybody understands consumers must pay a fee to get access to the internet.

Sen Wyden Releases Discussion Draft of Legislation to Provide Real Protections for Americans’ Privacy

Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a discussion draft of sweeping new legislation, Consumer Data Protection Act, that would empower consumers to control their personal information, create radical transparency into how corporations use and share their data, and impose harsh fines and prison terms for executives at corporations that misuse Americans’ data.

Trump’s FCC chairman wants to hand the Internet over to big corporations

[Commentary] For as long as the Internet has existed, it has been grounded on the principle of net neutrality — that what you read, see or watch online shouldn’t be favored, blocked or slowed down based on where that content is coming from.

Net neutrality means that cable companies can’t reserve the fastest Internet speeds for the biggest companies and leave everyone else in the slow lane. That’s what ensures a website for a local pizza place in rural Oregon or Minnesota loads as quickly as the website for Pizza Hut or Domino’s. Or why a social network built in a garage is available to the same people as Instagram or Twitter. That’s why it’s so alarming to see that the Federal Communications Commission, a federal agency that’s expected to help protect the Internet, is planning to roll back net neutrality rules. It’s amazing that President Donald Trump, having promised to stand up to the powerful on behalf of ordinary Americans, now has an FCC that gives the powerful what they ask for — even if it hurts consumers.

[Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, are members of the U.S. Senate. Tom Wheeler was FCC chairman from 2013 to January.]

Accessing People’s Browser History Is Almost Like Spying on Their Thoughts

[Commentary] The week of July 4, we objected to the Senate moving forward on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization bill. 

We are concerned that this bill would undermine a federal board that serves as an independent watchdog for intelligence agencies. We are even more concerned that this bill includes an unnecessary, sprawling expansion of the FBI’s ability to spy on what websites Americans visit and who they talk to on e-mail or in text messages and chats—all without obtaining a warrant, or any court oversight whatsoever.
 Given what web browsing history can reveal, there is little information that could be more intimate.

If you know that a person is visiting the website of a mental health professional, or a substance-abuse support group, or a particular political organization, or a particular dating site, you know a tremendous amount of private and personal information about him or her. That’s what you get when you can get access to their web browsing history without a court order.

The reality is that getting access to people’s web browsing history is almost like spying on their thoughts. This level of surveillance absolutely ought to come with court oversight. Yet a number of senators are moving to go in the opposite direction.

The annual intelligence bill would let any FBI field office issue something called a National Security Letter to demand this information. These letters are essentially administrative subpoenas and often come with gag order. Allowing government agents to see Americans’ web browsing history without court oversight is a half-baked solution that won’t make our country any safer, and the American people deserve better.