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Khanna Writing Internet Bill of Rights

Comes after news that Facebook allowed political consulting firm to harvest users’ data

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has been tapped to write an “Internet Bill of Rights” by Democratic leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has been tapped to write an “Internet Bill of Rights” by Democratic leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Rep. Ro Khanna has been tapped by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to write legislation defining Internet users’ rights to their data.

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Khanna said he was frustrated after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill showed many members did not understand basic concepts about the internet.

“There are some who didn’t know what cookies were and some who didn’t know how Facebook made its money,” he said. “I think this is a time for leadership.”

Khanna, represents Silicon Valley and according to Open Secrets, his biggest contributor is Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.

Khanna said he would plan to seek input from companies including Google, Facebook and Apple.

Zuckerberg’s hearingz came after reports in the Guardian and the New York Times that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by President Donald Trump’s campaign, harvested data from voters’ Facebook profiles.

Khanna has spoken frequently about the need for an “Internet Bill of Rights,” as he calls it.

But Khanna also said his efforts will not interfere with states’ attempts for Internet rights, like a proposed piece of legislation in California to protect net neutrality.

Countries like Brazil and Italy have already enacted similar legislation and the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation is set to take effect next month.

Zuckerberg said U.S. users will receive similar protections “as quickly as possible” despite the fact Facebook moved its user responsibilities from its headquarters in Ireland to Menlo Park, California.

“We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live,” a Facebook representative said.

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