Tech, Internet and Cybersecurity

Senator Ron Wyden has been called a hero for net neutrality protection and internet freedom. He advocates for smart policies that will help internet users, including net neutrality, protecting private data and expanding rural broadband.

Wyden introduced the first Senate net neutrality bill in 2006, and he has repeatedly been singled out for his crucial leadership to ensure real net neutrality-where all Americans can use the Internet to go where they want, when they want, and how they want, after they pay their internet access fee.

Senator Wyden wrote the laws often credited for providing the legal foundation for the Internet to be the engine for innovation, education and job creation it is today. Through smart, forward-looking policies, Wyden is a champion for technology, internet freedom and cybersecurity in the Senate.

Net Neutrality  

Senator Wyden has been a champion of net neutrality before it was cool, writing the first net neutrality bill in the Senate back in 2006. Wyden was also one of the earliest supporters of strong, enforceable net neutrality protections that became the President Obama-era rules supported by reclassifying broadband - rules that Donald Trump’s FCC recently overruled.

Rural Broadband  

Senator Wyden works to close the digital divide and bring fast, reliable internet access to rural Oregon.  He is a cosponsor of the Rural Wireless Act to require the FCC to create more accurate mobile service maps, especially in rural areas. Wyden introduced The Community Broadband Act to ensure that communities should have the right to build their own high-speed networks if Big Cable won’t serve rural areas. Senator Wyden has also cosponsored a $1 trillion infrastructure package that would provide $20 billion to expand high-speed and affordable broadband internet access, which would benefit rural Oregon.

Wyden was also able to secure a cell phone tower for Mitchell, Oregon, which has about 130 residents, and is the jumping off point to Oregon’s famous Painted Hills.  It is imperative that Oregon’s rural communities have cell phone service, it is not only a small business issue, it is also a public safety issue. After two years working with the major cell phone companies, Wyden was happy to announce that T-Mobile stepped up to the plate to build a cell tower for Mitchell. Service should go live in early 2018. 

Copyright  

Senator Wyden was the lone Senator to stop SOPA and PIPA - bills that were purportedly aimed at fighting online piracy but in reality would have caused significant harm to the internet. Senator Wyden’s stand led many of the largest internet companies to join an online protest in 2013, commonly called the internet blackout, that brought so much attention to the issue that the dangerous bills did not pass. Senator Wyden is a strong proponent of a balanced copyright system that not only protects creators but also fosters innovation, freedom of expression and other important societal values.  He has introduced legislation to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to ensure that security researchers, journalists and owners of everyday devices have the ability to undertake legitimate activities. 

Internet Freedom  

In 1996 and 1998, Senator Wyden and then Congressman Chris Cox wrote two foundational laws that have created the internet as we know it: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and The Internet Tax Freedom Act. Section 230 of the CDA (Section 230) has been called “the 26 words that created the internet”. Section 230 gave every internet user the chance to be heard online, and gives websites and social media companies the power to take down vile and unwanted content without fear of being sued. Similarly, The Internet Tax Freedom Act led to the rapid development of broadband by banning state and local governments from taxing internet access. The Internet Tax Freedom Act also led to the development of online app stores by prohibiting discriminatory taxation of digital goods, e.g. an online newspaper can’t be taxed more than a physical newspaper.

As the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron uses his position to push for strong and fair adoption of these internet freedoms, as well as balanced copyright regimes, abroad including by advocating for their inclusion in trade agreements.

Cybersecurity  

Ron believes in common-sense cybersecurity. That is, he believes that we can greatly improve our cybersecurity by listening to experts and then adopting the widely available security technologies that they’ve long advocated, but which haven’t rolled out due to inertia. Moreover, Ron believes that strong cybersecurity makes Americans more secure against criminals, stalkers, or predators who are waiting to exploit vulnerabilities in our devices. Ron has successfully directed federal agencies to encrypt their emails and enable anti-spoofing technology - so that criminals can’t send phishing emails purporting to be from federal agencies. He has also successfully pressured major wireless telephone companies to fix long-standing vulnerabilities in their networks that hackers and foreign governments could exploit to spy on Americans, track our locations, and tap our calls and texts.


To protect Americans' security and privacy, Ron introduced the Mind Your Own Business Act, the most comprehensive data privacy bill ever proposed. It is based on three core principles: Companies need to be fully transparent about how they collect, use and share their customers' data; Consumers need the power to control their personal information; and Corporate executives need to be held accountable if they lie to the government about protecting consumer data. \