REGION – Congressman Darrell Issa, who represents California’s 50th Congressional District, recently declared the censorship of conservatives as the “singular big tech crisis of our times,” promising to back a series of amendments that will stop “the silencing of conservative voices.”
Issa is joining Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, led by ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), in outlining their agenda for regulating Big Tech companies, such as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Google and Facebook.
This comes after the House Judiciary Committee passed a series of six bipartisan antitrust bills aimed at major tech companies, including one that prohibits them from discriminatory conduct, and another that requires that platforms make user data portable.
Big Tech’s targeting of free speech and daily censorship of conservatives online is a crisis the Congress can no longer avoid. It’s time to end the discrimination of words and silencing of voices that Big Tech doesn’t want others to read and hear. pic.twitter.com/zK8NY1dkgI
— Rep. Darrell Issa (@repdarrellissa) June 29, 2021
Issa, in a statement, said that the bills were misleading and won’t actually target Big Tech.
“While the legislative package we are debating today makes repeated references to ‘breaking up monopolies’ and ‘opening up platforms,’ it will do little or nothing of the kind. It is, instead, an unprecedented expansion of big government, an invitation for China to gain even greater access to our data, the creation of new and broader powers for Biden Administration regulators, and a grab-bag of anti-business provisions that won’t empower consumers and will, at best, create a multiple of problem entities out of currently larger ones,” the statement reads in part.
“Worst of all, this legislative approach sidesteps the singular Big Tech crisis of our time: The relentless targeting of Americans’ free speech and daily censorship of conservatives online. Let me be clear: There can be no reform of Big Tech without addressing its discrimination and denials of the words and speech it doesn’t want others to read and hear,” Issa said.
The GOP outlines three stages: speed, accountability and transparency.
The agenda calls for speeding up antitrust cases against Big Tech companies by expediting their consideration by trial courts, allowing for a direct appeal to the Supreme Court and giving state Attorneys General the ability to fast-track cases.
This section is the most likely of the three to gain bipartisan support.
Accountability calls for subjecting Big Tech to legal accountability for its censorship by allowing individuals to “directly challenge Big Tech in court for its censorship and silencing of conservatives,” as well as overhauling Big Tech’s liability shield and consolidating antitrust enforcement authority solely to the Department of Justice (as opposed to the current system of splitting antitrust enforcement between the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission).
Finally, the transparency stage proposes requiring Big Tech companies engaged in content moderation to publicly disclose their decisions to remove posts online.
“I am today proposing and supporting a series of amendments that will actually fix what’s wrong with today’s tech industry by addressing market abuses, threats to consumer privacy and end the silencing of conservative voices. This is a fight worth having. And it is long overdue,” Issa’s statement said.
According to MSNBC, critics of the Republican antitrust strategy to rein in Big Tech say this is a not-so-subtle attempt to punish companies perceived by party members as GOP foes, noting the first sentence of the agenda memorandum, “Big Tech is out to get conservatives.”
Additionally, the plan “calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to be stripped of its antitrust enforcement authority,” which some critics believe is a GOP attempt to weaken recently-appointed FTC Chairperson Lina Khan’s power.
The 50th District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County, including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line.