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Public Statements

Issue Position: Technology

Issue Position

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Date:
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With millions of Americans using the Internet growing by the day, I have made it a priority to protect all consumers, of all ages, from online fraud, identity theft, spam and cyber-attack.

With my active support, Congress passed an extension of the prohibition against taxing internet access in 2007. The extension runs through 2014 and bans on state and local taxes on Internet access, as well as the ban on multiple and discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce by state and local governments.

I am also committed to working with the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to coordinate and promote their education outreach.

* I hosted Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the NSF at Drew University, where he discussed science, math, technology and engineering with the students.
* Annually bring a NASA Astronaut and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunter Pilot to visit New Jersey schools and emphasize the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
* When I served as the Ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee in the 110th Congress, I was honored to work closely on technology issues with the NSF whose mission is unique among the federal government's scientific research agencies in that it supports science and engineering across all disciplines.
* NSF currently funds research and education activities at more than 2,000 universities, colleges, K-12 schools, businesses, and other research institutions through the United States.
* Supporting the United States Patent and Trademark Office in protecting the work of American inventors and innovators.

I am also fighting for increased penalties against those who violate broadcast indecency laws and to protect the privacy of telephone users and their home and cell phone numbers from most unwanted telemarketing calls:

* Cosponsored the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act to increase penalties against those who air offensive and indecent programming on television or across radio airwaves.
* Succeeded in getting the Federal Telecommunication Commission to implement his "Know Your Caller Act," which makes it illegal for telemarketers to block their numbers from caller ID.
* Supported the creation of the "National Do Not Call List" for people to sign up and protect their privacy from intrusive, annoying, unwelcome commercial solicitations.
* Pushed for making the "National Do Not Call List" permanent, which occurred in February of 2008.

I strongly support privacy rights and will continue to work to ensure that personal information is heavily protected.

The Privacy Act of 1974 limits government entities use of Social Security Numbers (SSNs). When asking for an individual's SSN, Federal, state and local government agencies must provide information on the authority under which the information is being requested; whether the information is voluntary or mandatory; what the information will be used for; and the consequences of failing to provide the information.
However, Federal law does not authorize or restrict the use of SSNs by the private sector. Private businesses may ask individuals for their SSN before a product or service is provided.

Although an individual can refuse to give his or her SSN to a company or organization, the business can also refuse to provide the goods or services unless the SSN is provided.

I strongly believe in citizens' rights to privacy, particularly with respect to their SSNs.

I have introduced H.R. 122, Protecting the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Act of 2009. H.R. 122 seeks to prohibit the sale or display of a SNN to the general public without the individual's express consent and puts limitations on businesses regarding when they can ask for a SSN.

Additionally, the legislation would prevent the Federal, state and local governments from displaying SSNs on public records posted on the internet or issued to the public through electronic media, or from printing them on government checks.


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