Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) announced she has introduced a package of legislation designed to protect the privacy and free expression of Internet users and ensure continued innovation in online services. Rep. Lofgren, who sounded the first warning cry in Congress over the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that millions of Americans spoke out against as one of the greatest threats to the Internet, said she introduced the bills to begin a serious conversation on the future of an open and free Internet.
"The Internet is a thriving and vibrant engine for cultural and economic growth because it empowers people to connect and share information globally with limited restrictions," Rep. Zoe Lofgren said. "We need proactive laws designed to preserve an open and truly global Internet from SOPA-like legislation, unduly restrictive treaties and trade agreements, and overbroad government surveillance."
Rep. Lofgren said her two bills lay out key principles and tools for protecting Internet users' free expression and privacy, preserving user trust in online services, and ensuring the path for Internet-related innovation and economic growth remain clear. Rep. Lofgren noted the bills are unlikely to be acted upon before the end of the year and said she plans to reintroduce them next year when the newly elected Congress meets.
The first bill, H.R. 6529, the ECPA 2.0 Act, modifies the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to strengthen the privacy of Internet and wireless users from outdated government surveillance laws. The second bill, H.R. 6530, the Global Free Internet Act, creates a U.S.-based task force composed of elected and non-elected government and private sector experts responsible for identifying and responding to domestic or international threats to Internet users, online services and the technical architecture of the Internet. Rep. Lofgren introduced an earlier version of the Global Free Internet Act in 2010.