The BROWSER Act: A privacy misstep

On Wednesday, the Free State Foundation held its ninth annual Telecom Policy Conference, a must-attend event that consistently generates excellent discussion by leading policymakers (and the occasional academic) before capacity crowds. One hot topic this year was the BROWSER Act of 2017, a data privacy bill introduced by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who chairs the House subcommittee covering telecom issues. While conference participants discussed the nuances of the bill, they were too polite, or too politically savvy, to ask the most puzzling question about the bill: Why would a conservative Republican with a deregulatory worldview propose such an onerous, European-style regulatory regime on the internet, particularly after faulting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for taking similar action only a month ago?