Technology, Telecommunications & Privacy
For nearly four decades, Ed has been a national leader on telecommunications and technology policy, passing legislation that helped lay the foundation for the digital revolution. Now, Ed is leading the charge to save net neutrality and ensure free internet access for all.
In December, Congress passed the TRACED Act, Ed’s legislation to halt the plague of robocalls coming into Americans’ phones. Ed knows that these scam calls are a consumer protection crisis and put our most vulnerable populations at risk of fraud. Ed passed his legislation with bipartisan support, and the bill was signed by the president in early 2020.
From 1987 to 2008 in the House of Representatives, Ed served either as the Chairman or the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications, where he was the principal author of many of the laws now governing the nation’s telephone, broadcasting, cable television, wireless, and broadband communication infrastructure systems, including the Children’s Television Act, the Cable Act of 1992, and landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Senator Markey’s vision for the 1996 Telecommunications Act was inspired by a visit he made to his cousin’s elementary school classroom. When the then-Representative asked the students what they would like to improve in their school, the answer was unanimous: more computers. Because of these students, the 1996 Telecommunications Act included ground-breaking provisions that established the “E-rate” program for schools and libraries, bringing broadband to neighborhoods and students across the nation. Ed knows that no student should be left behind, and that equal access to technology and the Internet will help level the playing field for our children to succeed.
In 2005, Ed was the first legislator to introduce net neutrality legislation in the House of Representatives, and in 2017, this legislation came full circle as the Trump administration’s FCC voted to repeal net neutrality. Ed continues to lead the fight to ensure free and open internet for all, standing up to the big internet service providers so they don’t build fast lanes for those who can afford them, while the rest of us are left behind with slower speeds or blocked websites. Ed’s Save the Internet Act, which passed the House in April 2019, would overturn the FCC’s 2017 ruling.
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Ed is also the Congressional champion for ensuring children’s online privacy and is the author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which would serve as the communications constitution for children’s internet privacy rules. With the increased use of technology and media by our kids, Ed knows the importance of studying the impact that technology is having on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development.