Tech, Internet and Cybersecurity

Senator Ron Wyden has been called a hero for net-neutrality protection and internet freedom. His priorities for technology policies include protecting net neutrality and creating rural broadband opportunities.

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 bipartisan 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 filibustering 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 Fairness Act. Section 230 of the CDA (Section 230) has been called “the 26 words that created the internet” and have, by some accounts, created over a trillion dollars worth of value. Section 230 created the framework for the rules of the road for internet platforms by creating rules around who can be held liable for user-generated content. 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 Fairness 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 is, 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 Americans can get improved cybersecurity without giving up their liberty or being subjected to increased surveillance by the government. Ron is a champion of two-factor authentication and 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 their locations, and tap their calls and texts.

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