Rep. Zoe Lofgren Introduces Legislation to Protect Free Expression of Internet Users and an Open Global Marketplace

March 5, 2013
Press Release

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today announced the introduction of H.R. 889, The Global Free Internet Act. The bill is designed to preserve the structural foundation of the Internet, grow Internet commerce, and protect the free expression and privacy of Internet users. The bill also creates a specific task force within the government to ensure the path for Internet-related expression, innovation and economic growth remains clear. Today, actions by foreign governments, international bodies, and the U.S. government itself sometimes create risks to the global free flow of information, international trade in Internet-related goods and services, and the technical standards that underpin the Internet. Some of these risks include censorship of online content, country-specific technology standards that would make it difficult for computers to communicate with each other, and burdensome requirements for market access.

"The Internet has been such a spectacular success because it lowers barriers and empowers people to connect and share information, resulting in greater cultural exchange and economic growth," Rep. Lofgren said. "For the Internet to remain a platform for innovation and prosperity, we need to address undue restrictions on Internet commerce and the global free flow of information."

Rep. Lofgren introduced an earlier version of the Global Free Internet Act in 2012, and promised to reintroduce the bill in the 113th Congress as part of her Internet Freedom legislative agenda. The Global Free Internet Act would create a Task Force on the Global Internet that identifies, prioritizes, and develops a response to policies and practices of the U.S. government, foreign governments, or international bodies that deny fair market access to Internet-related goods and services, or that threaten the technical operation, security, and free flow of global Internet communications. Members of the Task Force include the heads of several executive branch agencies, four U.S. persons nominated by Congressional leadership, and four U.S. persons who are not government employees nominated by the Internet itself. The Task Force would hold public hearings, issue reports, and coordinate the activity of the U.S. government to respond to domestic and international threats to the Internet.

Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), Mike Honda (D-Campbell), and Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) joined Rep. Lofgren in introducing the bill as original cosponsors.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Global Free Internet Act.

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