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Public Statements

Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this amendment to H.R. 3309.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment addresses a problem that has come to light over the past 2 years. It's a problem that's a concern for parents, a problem that is a concern for families. It's a problem that's a concern for law enforcement. And I believe that my amendment will help to address this problem.

Here's what we have learned. Many families do not know that the baby monitors that they purchase to help them take care of their infants and their children can be easily accessed by potential intruders. It's possible for someone, anyone at all, to purchase a normal baby monitor at the store and use that monitor to see and hear inside a family's home, quite literally making it possible to monitor other people's children and their lives.

In fact, recent investigative news stories by NBC in New York and throughout the Nation found that one can even drive down the street with a baby monitor receiver and monitor every child on that street whose family uses an analog baby monitor. Outsiders waiting hundreds of feet from a home or canvassing a neighborhood can quickly and easily see an image of a young child or an entire room, the same image seen by parents inside their home.

The concerns don't end there. Potential intruders could also identify whether the parents or children are home at all, helping create conditions for burglary. And a potential kidnapper or abuser could easily identify the location of a child within a home, as well as the easiest point of entry to abduct or cause harm to that child.

This is a situation that is deeply concerning to many parents who know of the problem. But equally as alarming is the fact that so many others don't even know about the problem to begin with.

This amendment would direct the FCC, when ruling on baby monitors, to require companies producing analog baby monitors to include warning labels on packages so that parents can make fully informed decisions about the potential risk of their purchases.

Parents have no greater concern than the well-being of their children and their families, and they deserve full information about the products they are purchasing. It comes down to making sure that parents are aware of any potential dangers. A clear warning on the monitors will help arm parents with the information they need to make the best decision for their family.

I have written to the FCC about this issue, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There is, indeed, an interest in addressing this problem, and I hope passage of this amendment will send a clear message to the agencies with jurisdiction over these products that we need to find a way to move forward and get this matter addressed.

I ask for support for this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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