Congresswoman Trahan understands the importance of online platforms maintaining standards to ensure the safety and privacy of their users. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, she is uniquely positioned to speak up for users – adults and children alike – and introduce legislation to rein in abuses online.
Requiring Transparency from Big Tech
Under current law, big tech companies are largely unregulated and operate with limited governmental scrutiny. This allows them to leave disinformation unchecked, harvest user data, and target vulnerable members of the population. Congresswoman Trahan introduced the Digital Services Oversight and Safety Act (DSOSA) in 2022 to establish a Bureau of Digital Services Oversight and Safety within the Federal Trade Commission and require more transparency from online platforms. This legislation aims to renew decades-old and outdated laws regarding the internet and content moderation. Additionally, Congresswoman Trahan introduced the Social Media DATA Act which requires platforms to maintain ad libraries and directs the FTC to clarify the way social media companies share data with researchers.
Congresswoman Trahan believes people expect and deserve a right to online privacy. In 2022, Congresswoman Trahan introduced the Data Elimination and Limiting Extensive Tracking and Exchange (DELETE) Act. The DELETE Act allows Americans to demand the deletion of their phone number, web history, or even social security number from a data broker’s library. Congresswoman Trahan, like the other bipartisan sponsors of this bill, believes people expect and deserve a right to online privacy. Similarly, as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, she voted in favor of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act which passed through committee in July of 2022. This legislation aims to limit the amount of data companies are allowed to collect on users and to give consumers the power to opt-out of surveillance-based advertising. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Congresswoman Trahan demanded top messaging and telecom companies provide information on how their metadata collection could jeopardize women’s ability to seek out abortion or could be used as evidence to later prosecute them.
Combating Misinformation Online
Misinformation online is extremely harmful to the public discourse, but can also have some very serious public health implications when left unchecked. Congresswoman Trahan understands the severity of these consequences and has demanded platforms take further preventative action.
Facebook alone averages around 1 million views of climate misinformation each day. Utilizing Earth Day of 2022 as a call to action, Congresswoman Trahan urged her colleagues to pass crucial legislation like DSOSA to combat the crisis.
In the summer of 2022, Meta began talks of scaling down its internal operation tasked with removing COVID-19 information. While Congresswoman Trahan agreed that major strides had been made in combating the virus, it still remains a public health crisis. Understanding the disastrous effect of false statements about the pandemic being proliferated, Congresswoman Trahan wrote to Facebook’s Oversight Board on COVID-19 Misinformation Policy urging the company not to scale back its efforts.
Following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion misinformation online became more dire and a greater public health risk with serious consequences. Congresswoman Trahan joined over 40 of her colleagues to call on big tech to better combat abortion misinformation. When false information is spread about abortion services, women may attempt dangerous self-abortions, refuse treatment out of unfounded fear, or a variety of other catastrophic risks. Congresswoman Trahan knows our daughters are relying on us to tackle this aspect, as well as the entirety, of the abortion fight.
Protecting Our Youth Online
As our young kids navigate being online, it’s essential to ensure their safety and privacy. Congresswoman Trahan wrote to the FTC urging them to use all tools at their disposal to monitor threats to teens like manipulation and privacy invasion online. She also released drafted student privacy legislation aimed at limiting how commercial educational software can use student data.
When a whistleblower came forward with proof of Meta’s knowledge of the harmful effects Instagram has on teens, Congresswoman Trahan called for passage of her Social Media DATA Act which would allow for independent research on the issue. As Meta began developing Instagram for kids, Congresswoman Trahan was quick to condemn the action as irresponsible given Meta had failed to protect kids on other platforms. When Meta agreed to pause production of the project, Congresswoman Trahan insisted that was not enough and that it must be abandoned altogether.
Innovation & Technological Advancement
Congresswoman Trahan supported the CHIPS & Science Act. Signed into law in August of 2022, this legislation makes significant investments in research, development, and technology to ensure the US remains competitive on these fronts. The law takes strides to end America’s dependence on foreign chip manufacturers by making investments in facilities here at home. Additionally, funding is allocated for diversifying and expanding the STEM workforce, further preparing us for the 21st century.
Congresswoman Trahan wants to ensure that Massachusetts, as the technological hub that it is, remains at the forefront of innovation. She was a proud supporter of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan that was signed into law in November of 2021. The law provided Massachusetts with $2.5 billion for railway updates and upgrades alone. This money is crucial for Massachusetts because one in every five of our transit vehicles is past its usefulness lifetime. Additionally, the law brought broadband to the 130,000+ Bay Staters who still lack coverage through $100 million in aid.
Additional Supported Legislation
KIDS Act *
TLDR Act *
* indicates the Congresswoman is an Original Cosponsor of that legislation.