tv The Communicators Sen. Marsha Blackburn R-TN CSPAN September 30, 2019 8:00am-8:33am EDT
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c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> host: joining us this week on "the communicators" is senator marsha blackburn, a member of the commerce and scientist subcommittee on communications and technology. senator blackburn appeared off and on this program as a member of the house that this is her first appearance as a senator. welcome back. >> guest: thank you so much. did you join once again. >> host: i wanted to ask you about some of the issues you worked on in the house when it comes to technology. were you able to bring that over to the senate, such as data privacy and things like that? >> guest: indeed. i have brought those issues with me. i think we last visited when i was finishing work on the ray bonds act, which was the reauthorization of the fcc which had not been done since 1990,
and, of course, the mobile now, the old precision agriculture bill and some of those components that are really foundational items in our internet ecosystem. so getting those predations finished was important and then bringing that knowledge and expertise to the senate where we are dealing with the privacy and data security issues not only of commerce but also judiciary committee. one thing i i found interesting about being in the senate is how you take when issue set and you work cross-platform on it. i'm also on the armed services committee and the veterans committee, and at veterans we are working to get everybody's record in the cloud. we are doing the same thing at armed services so that we can have someone in list for the
rest of their life -- in list -- the records are all cloud-based and as they need medical care or if they want to track what exposures they may have had such as hazardous toxins, things of that nature, they the veteran will own those records, and this will in that laborious process that is so frustrating to so many of our nations veterans where they are having to go to places they were stationed or posted or places they were deployed, and try to rebuild their record. it takes a lot of time, a lot of wasted energy goes there. and at armed services i'm working on future threats, on technology and 5g and artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles and supercomputing and hypersonics, and our technology
sector really underpins the innovation that is taking place around 21st century warfare. >> host: joining us to delve into some of those issues you just mentioned is steven overly of the "politico." >> i wanted to ask you first about the big news in washington this week which was this announcement from house democrats that they would pursue impeachment proceedings against president trump. i'm curious what you make of that decision and guillotine concerns that might stunt momentum around tech policy issues or other priorities you have in the senate? >> guest: of course i would love to see them focusing on the issues that americans care about, certainly that tennesseans care about. one of the things we learned from the 2018 election cycle is that voters, especially women, want to see things done. they don't like bickering. they don't like the back-and-forth. they want to see things done
that affect them. i can call them the security moms. women that are focused on keeping their children safe. they want job security, income security. they want to make certain that their elderly parents and relatives are well kill to four. -- are well cared for. they want to make certain this nation is secure, securing that southern border. i think this may be an overreach by our friends in the house. and we all know that we should have expected they would try another impeachment process. indeed, yesterday when i was on the floor of the house speaking i talked about 2016 and "vanity fair" magazine and december december 2016, had an article that talked about the democrats pushed to impeach president
trump. but he wasn't even sworn in yet. but before he was sworn in and he was still president-elect trump, the senate democrats had started writing a deal that they felt like would be the way to get him, and would be looking for areas where there would be conflicts in his business interests and complex with his service as president of our nation. so this is something they have been trying since before he was sworn in. they tried to get an impeachment vote in a in a house in 2017. it failed. they tried in 2018. it failed. they thought the mueller report was going to be exactly what they needed. it wasn't. that effort failed. they tried earlier in 2019 to get an impeachment vote. they failed. so then here they come with this, and to think they were
probably a little bit surprised when they read the transcript of that phone call. >> you talked about getting things done and it want to ask about the tech task force your leading in the senate. i know you that several meetings with tech industry leaders and civil society advocates. what are you learning in those meetings? >> guest: one of the things i'm learning is we have finally arrived in a in a position whee people are saying, you know what, , we need some privacy and data security guard rails on -- in law. it's time to get something on the books. that is very encouraging to me. as you well know i filed the browser act three years ago in the house and abort to get a privacy standard. i believe we need one set of rules for the entire internet ecosystem with one regulator. and i think that individuals should have the right to opt in, give their explicit consent if you want to share their private or sensitive data, and then opt
out if they do not want the platform sharing their nonsensitive data. but i don't think platforms should be able to boot them off the platform if they say hey, i'm exercising my right to privacy. so what i'm learning is that the committee in industry that share that view that this light touch foundational privacy standard, as simple as i just laid it out, that that is something that is a good thing to have, that basic federal standard. and then if you want to increase it through the financial service sector, you've got something to build on that would give the opportunity to clean up gramm-leach-bliley. if you want to increase it through federal aviation administration, which needs to
be -- hepa -- sort of, dices digital imaging and telehealth and some of those newer arrivals and entrance into the marketplace, there again yet the basic privacy standard. so that is what we are hearing. on data security, what we have found is that people would like to see a federal standard that exercises preemption. so that when is a data breach, the people are notified within a prompt and given period of time. and having the ftc with the ability to level penalties and then having enforcement capabilities. when it comes to censorship and prioritization, we heard from some of the smaller or newer start companies, have the big tech companies really are pushing them out of the
marketplace. and an example of this would be with yelp, where there a rating system. they were being pushed aside and google was preference in their own rating system. we've also heard from companies that do not advertise on google or one of the search engines. then that when you do a search, run a google search for the company, they are way down at the bottom and you have people that are advertising with google that are preference at the top. and people really would like for that to be more organic and more specific to the search that people are running or entering into that search engine. we're also going to be looking at antitrust and competition, and look forward i think that something will get into early next year. we last week at a session on data portability to actually
look at who owns your data. and if you have the right to move that dated to transport that data from one platform to another platform. >> host: i don't mean to be trite but there seems to be some political backlash against big tech. >> guest: i think what has happened is the tech companies have grown and grown to become basically a monopoly within a given field. that you are seeing a push for more transparency in their operations, more transparency in how they develop their algorithms and insight into how they go about exercising their preferences as people that are on these platforms. one thing also that we pretty good bit about is, look, as
these tech companies say we are new modern-day town square, where the public forum, and why is there not a cop on the beat that is making certain that they are rooting out terrorist activity or some of these videos, you know, that you will see or hear about online? and people expect that type accountability from these platforms. likewise, some of these social media platforms that are beginning to distribute news and have a newsfeed, individuals want to see them actually have a news director so that they are passing on news that has been curated and not passing on rumors or innuendo. >> i wanted to ask on a a coupe
of those topics, including antitrust which you mention some smaller firms feeling squeezed out of the online market. we've seen state attorneys general as well as the justice department and the ftc all large antitrust probes. what do you make of those efforts? >> guest: what you are seeing with these 50 states attorneys general launching a probe into google and also eight states into facebook, this is, in my opinion, the way i see it is frustration by the consumers and the citizens in those states. small businesses that feel as if they're being booted off these platforms and cannot draw people to their website, or their facebook is not being pushed forward or they are limited in boosting a post. and this is why you have the states going after them, and also why you were seeing the
states go after facebook in this regard. so i -- it does not surprise me. i think that they feel as if they have the right to move forward. indeed they do but there bolstered a little bit because both ftc and doj have been looking at the social media platforms. indeed, facebook just paid a $5 billion fine. >> host: do you share some of these frustrations? >> guest: of course i do, yes. you know, everyone does. i am one of those individuals that was censored by twitter when i was in my senate campaign. they took down a video that i put up, wouldn't let us boost it. and the reason, they felt like it was inappropriate speech or inflammatory rhetoric, and us
talking about pro-life. i was talking about leading the select committee over in the house. there's nothing inflammatory about protecting life. >> host: so from the conservative point of view, you feel you've been centered? >> guest: indeed i was, yes. >> senator, in that regard, have you seen evidence that that is a systemic issue across sort of the social media companies? >> guest: we had so much evidence of individuals and from smaller companies about being pushed aside or disadvantaged by large social media outlets. and if they are the public forum, if they are an information source, we want to make certain that it is a fair and level playing field. >> i i know you participated earlier this year in the white house summit on social media bias and they are the president spoke about looking at regulatory and administrative solutions to that issue. what movement have you seen from the white house on this?
>> guest: the white house has been very good on this issue. i appreciate the fact that they're moving slowly but very intentionally. and working with us. the tech task force is what is a lot of those of us on the judiciary committee to do a good educational deep dive on this to meet with some of these privacy officers and leadership of some of these tech platforms and hear firsthand from them what works and what does not work. and hearing from stakeholders, hearing from advocacy groups is how we are going to make certain that we do this right the first time. what we do know is that the american consumer does not want gdpr. they have, in europe and the eu, with that heavy-handed approach.
you have seen some companies actually come out of the marketplace because of the cost of compliance and because the intrusion into their complaint systems. we also know u.s.-based companies that are looking at california i very hesitant when they are looking at the california law that would go on the books next year. they are very hesitant to do any expansion or they are yet to make a decision if they're going to stay into that marketplace. we do not want to disadvantage innovation and we do not want to disadvantage the u.s. consumer. >> host: senator blackburn, did you have a chance to meet with mark zuckerberg? >> guest: you know, i have talk with him before and it did not meet with him when he was here last week. but i'm delighted that we are beginning to see some of these tech leaders come to the hill.
and i'm going to spend some time in the near future out in the silicon valley doing a series of meetings and have full of it better insight into the backbone of some of these platforms and the way their algorithms are developed. needing hopefully with some of their engineers and developers and then also the application of those algorithms on their sites. >> host: also is election security heart of the task force -- >> guest: no. we are not looking at election security. that has not been something that was in the directive we were given when we started the task force, but i think election security, after the 2060 election, is something we look at. we've had hearings on it at commerce. we touched on in armed services, and what we do know is this, for
decades, our enemies have tried to thwart or to wiggle their way into influencing u.s. policy. this is not something new. i remember being a a kid and hearing about what the russians wanted to do to us, and the way they're trying to tear us down from within. and some of the ways they felt like they could exercise that. well, with the advent of the internet it just makes sense that those who do not wish us well are going to gravitate to that platform and try to use that to their advantage. and, indeed, they did try, but what we do know is that in 2016 they were not into any voting system in any county or precinct in this country. they did not change one single vote. but we do know that they have
continued their campaign to influence, try to influence elections, trying to influence policy. you look at some of the information that came out about vaccines, and it was traced back to some of these russian websites. we should be working as a team with our government, with some of these internet service providers, and when we have these bad actors and bots that are in the systems and have launched these websites and facebook pages, let's get them taken down. >> i want to ask your opinion on whether the federal trade commission or the federal communications commission should have more oversight over political speech online amateur somebody's platforms are politically neutral? >> guest: i think that as we have talked about the issue of privacy, what individuals have said is let's have one regulator, and that regulator has traditionally been the
federal trade commission. and people feel that we should have one regulator. we've also, when it comes to political speech, we do not want to a bridge anyone's first amendment writes, the right to free speech. i may not agree with what someone says but i will certainly speak up and protect their right to have their safety and a think it's important to do that. >> host: so when it comes to something like an 8chan, senator blackburn, where are you? >> guest: that is something that we know has, has, is -- let me sit like this. with 8chan that is something that is putting out harmful speech, and that is one of these areas where an isp with be well served to review that and review
the information that they're putting out. >> what changes, if any, would you like to see to section 230 of of the key make asians decency act which shields some of these internet companies from content post that their users post and liability for the content? >> guest: right. section 230 has been there to actually serve as as a safe ha, as you very well know. and what we want to do is protect those provisions for new entrants. we do not want to do away with it and make it impossible for new entrants to come into compliance or have be something that keeps them from trying to enter the marketplace. i think at this point we would be well served to have a review and discussion of 230, maybe a hearing on 230 in what the update should be around it as the internet has matured.
>> do you think large companies like facebook or google still deserve those 230 protections? >> guest: this is something that should be part of a broader discussion, and having a hearing and doing some closer work on 230 and what it update should be, i think it's time for us to do that. >> as part of that discussion do you think yourself and other lawmakers should look at carveouts the 230 on issues like violent extremism or child exploitation or some of these other issues with unsavory or even illegal content we've seen online? >> guest: right. when we had a hearing last week on extremism, and we continue to look at how you deal with extremism, how you deal with some of the violent content that isn't there, , and also the sex trafficking that is taken place, and that's an area as you may
remember several years ago, i led the push to get back page of the google search. and this is one of the things that needs to happen to protect women and children, and to thwart the sex trade and to prohibit them from using online, to market these women and children. also several years ago we worked with the online gaming industry and made certain that they began to do ratings so that you would have content that was age-appropriate. and we have looked at this in our task force and will continue to do so. when you look at some of the apps, snap or tender or some of these that young people get
into, and then pedophiles have begun to use those apps and they are tracking children online, and certainly having some ratings and awareness so that parents realize what is going on and making certain that children are protected and that their information is not been made public and it is not going to someone who would do them harm. >> host: senator blackburn, you start this interview talk about some of the foundational issues you've worked on. one of those is accessed to spectrum of course and it looks like the fcc is getting closer and closer to a c van auction. >> guest: yes, and one of the things we do know is spectrum is can we have a shortage of spectrum, and as we're looking
at the utilizations, whether it is in the commercial to government or the military sectors, what we do know is we're going to need more mid band spectrum. 5g is getting ready for deployment. 5g is going to be vital for our u.s. military. indeed, the first military post is going to be completely 5g compliant is going to be in tennessee. and this is where some of the autonomous vehicles are being tested that will be used with the u.s. militaries. so we're really excited about that. but all of this artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, the internet of everything, the evolution of looking at military different
divisions that the military to point in units. you may have somebody from the army, somebody from the marines, somebody in the navy all in one unit. we note interoperability is going to be important. so recouping spectrum so that we build out a network on the commercial side and the military side that will be interoperable is going to be vitally important. as i said, that mid band is something that is going to be a highly sought area that we can begin to build out some of these networks. also closing the digital divide and beginning to use five and 6g wireless to close the digital divide, the cleared the signal,
the strength of that cigna, the link that cigna can run over the spectrum will help us as we try to close that digital divide in rural areas. it's also going to help us with the deployment of healthcare technology into rural and underserved areas. with hospitals in rural areas that have closed, this will help us to get healthcare to those individuals. >> host: a little bit of a tangential issue, but while we is involved in the rural areas and in 5g development. what's your take? >> guest: well, i am one of those and, indeed, have voted for and supported blocking huawei from further deployment in this country and i would like to see some rip and replace on why a way -- huawei technology that is existing in this country. what we do know is that huawei does embed malware on their spyware. and we know that they do that. we also know that they are
trying to build their spy network using this. we also know that in china you do not know where the commercial sector and the military sector begin and end. they are one and the same, and we do know that huawei is a state owned company. we also know that huawei with both their telecommunication transmission equipment and their consumer telecommunications equipment are making enormous place all around the globe and trying to embed their equipment. people will say, well, but it is so affordable. of course it's going to be affordable. this is their spy network and it is why the u.s. military and our diplomatic missions have been very precise in saying we cannot transmit to you over sensitive
data over a huawei network. >> host: final question. >> we spoke about privacy and in a bipartisan group of your colleagues have been working on privacy and the release has been delayed a couple of times. i wanted to know are you disappointed that we haven't seen that federal privacy bill released yet? what does the timeline for legislation look like from your perspective? >> guest: well, you know that i love it disappointed. peter, and i have talked about this for years. was seven years ago that i was leading the privacy working group in the house, and then the browser act has been there for three years. i have refiled in the senate, so we do have a basic standard privacy bill. i think it would be important for us to move forward and put a simple, basic ivc standard on the books, and then if people
want to add to it you've got the opportunity to do that. but the american consumer deserves to have a basic accuracy standard. they need to know that their right to privacy is going to be protected in the virtual space, just as it is in the physical space. >> host: senator marsha blackburn, republican of tennessee, member of the judiciary committee, member of the commerce committee has been our guest on "the communicators" along with steven overly of "politico." thank you both. >> thank you. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court in public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider.
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