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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington


Technology Photo

Before coming to Washington, D.C., I had a long career in the technology sector, where I had the opportunity to work on everything from embedded systems to e-commerce. As co-founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet of Things Caucus, I am working to help educate other Members of Congress so the work we do is forward-looking and grounded in the realities of the 21st century.   

As Internet-connected devices continue to proliferate and change the way we work, play, and live, ensuring we have strong, up-to-date privacy laws in place is critical. Right now, we have too many out-of-date laws on the books that fail to protect Americans’ privacy and leave a great deal of uncertainty for U.S. companies doing business domestically and overseas.

In the 114th Congress, I’ve helped introduce several bills that would address these issues and  update our privacy laws.  

  • The Online Communication and Geolocation Protection Act: Requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant before service providers disclose any electronic communications content (email, text, chat logs, etc.) or geolocation information.
  • The Surveillance Order Reporting Act: Permits electronic service providers to publicly report government requests and demands for information and exempts providers from liability even if the provider would otherwise be prohibited by law from reporting that information.
  • The Secure Data Act: Prohibits a federal agency from requiring or requesting a manufacturer, developer, or seller of any computer hardware, software, or electronic device made available to the general public to design or alter the security functions to allow the surveillance of any user or the physical search of such product by any agency.
  • Email Privacy Act: Requires the government to obtain a warrant before requiring providers to disclose the content of communications regardless of how long the communication has been held in electronic storage by an electronic communication service or whether the information is sought from an electronic communication service or a remote computing service.
  • Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act: Requires the government to obtain a warrant before requiring providers to disclose the contents of a U.S. person’s wire or electronic communication in electronic storage with or otherwise stored, held, or maintained by the provider overseas.

According to some estimates, the number of wireless devices will hit 8 billion by 2016. With the growing use of these devices comes exponentially growing demand for wireless spectrum. To meet that demand, we need to ensure we are using spectrum efficiently so that innovative new technologies can continue to thrive and consumers can safely and reliably use their devices. I cosponsored the Wi-Fi Innovation Act to open access to unlicensed spectrum, and to bring wireless access to currently underserved communities. I will continue to look for opportunities to open more spectrum in ways that responsibly balance innovation and public safety. 

Intellectual Property
Strong intellectual property protections are at the heart of the U.S. innovation economy. Without policies that protect innovators, we cannot continue to lead the world in both technology and entertainment. But we also have to ensure that systems designed to protect inventors are not abused by bad actors, draining critical capital from the economy that would be better used for hiring workers or research and development. That’s why, in the 113th Congress, I voted for bipartisan patent reform legislation that would help curb abusive patent litigation while continuing to protect the rights of inventors. I will continue to work with my colleagues toward meaningful patent reform in the 114th Congress, as well as updating our copyright laws to better suit the needs of the digital age.   

More on Technology

Feb 17, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) along with Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA), and Congresswoman DelBene (D-WA) introduced H.R. 1110, Stop Mass Hacking Act. This is the companion bill to legislation introduced on the Senate side by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
Feb 9, 2017 In The News
As far as law enforcement and the federal law regarding electronic communications are concerned, any of your emails older than 180 days have been “abandoned” and don’t carry an expectation of privacy; they’re no different than the trash you leave at the curb and can be searched without a warrant.
Feb 8, 2017 In The News
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) Before Rep. Suzan DelBene, 54, became a member of Congress, she was a tech entrepreneur and a 12-year veteran of Microsoft, where she rose to become a corporate vice president. These days, the Washington Democrat is using her background to push Congress to look at ways tech can play a role in infrastructure. In 2015, she and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) teamed up to launch the Internet of Things Caucus to educate Congress on connected devices and their role in public policy.
Feb 6, 2017 In The News
A bill aimed at modernizing the United States's aging law covering law enforcement access to emails and other stored files passed the House Monday night.  The current law, known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, allows law enforcement to access any stored files without a warrant if such material is left on a third-party server for more than 180 days. But that law was passed in 1986 — three years before the invention of the internet — when computer owners did not have the same systems as modern users, such as cloud hosting, webmail and online photo galleries.
Feb 6, 2017 In The News
When former Microsoft Corp. executive Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) returned for the 115th Congress, it didn’t take long for her to address one of the issues racking the tech industry: President Trump’s campaign promise to create a religious registry for Muslims in the U.S. “This is a key area of concern given what’s happened with the recent executive order,” DelBene said, referring to Trump’s Jan. 27 entry ban on citizens and refugees of seven predominantly Muslim countries. The restrictions have tipped off a sharp outcry from an industry dependent on tech-savvy foreign-born talent.
Feb 6, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today celebrated House passage of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387). This legislation would update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the main statute governing law enforcement access to digital records and content, such as email. The bill would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access emails. Current law allows law enforcement to obtain emails from third party providers without a warrant if they are older than 180 days.
Jan 25, 2017 In The News
Congress is attempting to fix the problem by restoring the Fourth Amendment. The Email Privacy Act, just re-introduced in the new Congress by Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would force the government to obtain an individualized warrant before searching anyone’s email. 
Jan 25, 2017 In The News
WASHINGTON — It was during the House special investigation into stem cell research that Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene had had enough. Still in her second term at the time of the September hearing, the Washington state congresswoman was mercilessly excoriating her Republican colleagues’ decision to investigate fetal tissue science, an effort she saw as a shameful attempt to harass those engaged in medical research. “As someone who started her career in biomedical research, I’m deeply disappointed to see the impact this panel is already having,” she said.
Jan 12, 2017 In The News
A new House bill would prevent the incoming government from forcing tech companies to build a so-called Muslim registry. The bill, dubbed the No Religious Registry Act, is set to be reintroduced by Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA, 1st) after it failed just days after now president-elect Donald Trump won the election. It comes after the Republican candidate made repeated calls for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US during his campaign.
Jan 10, 2017 In The News
Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), co-chairs of the Internet of Things Caucus, talked about technology and internet issues facing Congress and the incoming Trump administration. Topics included how technology devices were becoming needs instead of choices, and how the privacy, operations, and security aspects of devices and services were beginning to intersect with national security. Click here to read the whole story.