Senators Blackburn & Blumenthal Hold Rally With Teens & Parents to Protect Kids Online


Senator Blackburn Discusses AI With the Nashville Songwriters Association


Senator Blackburn Hears From Parents Whose Children Were Harmed on Social Media Platforms


Senator Blackburn Grills Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg Over His Failure to Protect Children Online

Senator Blackburn is optimistic about how developing technologies are breaking barriers in the financial, auto manufacturing, and healthcare industries — all of which are critical to Tennessee’s economy. In Congress, she has continuously fought to protect Americans’ “virtual you” and put consumers in control of their data. At the same time, Senator Blackburn has helped expand access to broadband for rural Tennesseans. You can’t have 21st-century healthcare, 21st-century education, or a 21st-century economy without 21st-century internet that can be accessed by Tennesseans regardless of their zip code.

Harnessing the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) fosters innovation in our state and creates opportunities for rural areas. While AI can be used for tremendous good, it can and has already been exploited by bad actors. Communist China is pouring tremendous resources into this technological breakthrough with the goal of controlling the AI market by 2030. Senator Blackburn is committed to working with colleagues across the aisle in Washington and developing a plan to facilitate domestic innovation in AI and ensure we outpace our adversaries in this critical field.

The Kids Online Safety Act

U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have championed the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act, comprehensive legislation to protect children online and hold Big Tech accountable. 

When children are online, they are the product, and addiction is the business model. The Kids Online Safety Act provides young people and parents with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against online harms. The bill requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first, ensuring an environment that is safe by default. The legislation requires third party audits and independent research to ensure that social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids.

Blackburn To Zuckerberg, Big Tech CEOs: How Much Is A Child's Life Worth To You?

Senators Blackburn and Blumenthal first introduced the Kids Online Safety Act in February 2022 after spearheading a series of five subcommittee hearings with social media companies and advocates on tech giants’ repeated failures to protect kids on their platforms and the dangers kids face online. 

For more on the Kids Online Safety Act, click here.

Protecting Children From Online Sexual Exploitation

It is critical that children are protected from the online harms platforms like Instagram and TikTok present, and Senator Blackburn is committed to holding abusers and Big Tech accountable. Instagram, owned by Meta, has become a connecting site for pedophiles, promoting illicit content of minors and advertising child sexual abuse material for sale.

Beyond the Kids Online Safety Act, Senator Blackburn has led bipartisan legislation, including the REPORT Act, to equip the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement with the resources they need to adequately respond to online sexual exploitation. This legislation, which requires Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to report crimes against children involving sex trafficking, grooming, or the enticement of children for sexual acts to NCMEC’s CyberTipline, was signed into law on May 7, 2024, marking a major step forward in the fight to protect children online.

End Online Child Exploitation: How The REPORT Act Will Help Americans

Additionally, following reports from survivors, advocates, and local law enforcement agencies that ridesharing companies are increasingly used as vehicles for exploitation, Senator Blackburn joined bipartisan letters to Uber and Lyft, calling on the ride-hailing apps to take additional steps to prevent their services from being used to transport victims of human trafficking. 

As more and more Americans take advantage of rideshare services, there is an urgent need to balance driver safety with passenger privacy when it comes to the use of dashcams. Senator Blackburn introduced the bipartisan Safe and Private Rides Act, which would prevent rideshare drivers from violating passengers’ privacy by requiring transportation network companies (TNCs) to notify passengers when their driver has a video recording device in the car and give passengers the opportunity to opt out of riding with a driver with a dashcam.

What Senator Blackburn Is Doing To Protect Music City

Senator Blackburn has been an ardent champion for Music City throughout her career in public service. She understands that while technology offers artists the ability to reach greater audiences and connect with listeners, it also increases the risk of unfair compensation and unauthorized replication of their likeness by AI.

Senator Blackburn Meets With the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) in Washington, D.C.

Senator Blackburn has fought to ensure singer-songwriters are properly compensated for their talent and hard work. In 2023, she introduced the bipartisan American Music Fairness Act, which ensures artists and music creators receive fair compensation for the use of their songs on AM/FM radio by bringing corporate radio broadcasters in line with all other music streaming platforms.

Senator Blackburn believes artists deserve the right to own their name, image, and likeness. The bipartisan NO FAKES Act will protect the voice and visual likenesses of individuals from unfair use through generative AI.

Furthermore, Senator Blackburn has long advocated for tougher action on trademark protections for music in the Chinese market. As Communist China seeks to violate copyright law in the United States, it is imperative that we fight for our creative community to ensure songwriters are properly compensated for their hard work.

How Artificial Intelligence Impacts The Music Industry: Blackburn

Strengthening Our Nation’s Cybersecurity

Senator Blackburn has led several pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening cybersecurity in the United States. As part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator Blackburn created a pilot program to allow the National Guard to provide “rapid, remote response for cyber assistance” to state and local governments, along with critical infrastructure entities when they are hit with cyberattacks. The program would also authorize, train, and fund the National Guard so that they “can have the ability to do the proper response in the wake of cyberattacks.”

Additionally, Senator Blackburn’s bipartisan Open Technology Fund Authorization Act, which was signed into law through the FY21 NDAA, plays a critical role in U.S. efforts to address the increasing levels of Internet censorship and surveillance. The legislation helped to expand the U.S. government’s support for internet freedom by addressing authoritarian regimes’ escalating efforts to censor, restrict, and surveil the internet.

In 2022, Senator Blackburn’s bipartisan Strengthening VA Cybersecurity Act was signed into law. This legislation protects veterans’ personal information, many of whom are seniors, from being leaked and targeted for scams by requiring the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to obtain an independent cybersecurity assessment of VA information systems and submit to Congress a plan to address the cybersecurity weaknesses found in the assessment. 

Additionally, Senator Blackburn led a bipartisan package of bills as part of the FY24 NDAA that would strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity workforce and support the federal response to cyber threats. These bipartisan bills would establish Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve pilot programs within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to recruit qualified civilian cybersecurity personnel to serve in reserve capacities to ensure the U.S. government has the talent needed to defeat, deter, or respond to malicious cyber activity, especially at times of greatest need.

Sen. Blackburn Demands Answers On Worldwide Threats In Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

Bridging Gaps Between Manufacturing & Technology

Senator Blackburn has several pieces of legislation aimed at bridging gaps in the manufacturing and technology sectors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, deep vulnerabilities in our country's national supply chains were exposed, causing major disruptions to our long-term economic recovery. To combat this, Senator Blackburn introduced the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Supply Chain Database Act, which became law as part of the CHIPS and Science Act, to establish a national database with information about the interconnectivity of manufacturers in the United States supply chain. The database will help prevent future supply chain disruptions by offering manufacturers key information as they make decisions on how to retool in critical areas to meet the demand for key products, such as defense supplies, food, and medical devices.

Additionally, Senator Blackburn’s bipartisan legislation to expand domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips — the Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act — unanimously passed the U.S. Senate. This bill would direct the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program to develop strategies to attract investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturers and supply chains and engage with state-level economic development organizations about how they are attracting foreign direct investment to onshore activities related to semiconductor manufacturing.

Senator Blackburn has also introduced the bipartisan Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act, which would create a supply chain disruption early warning mechanism at the U.S. Department of Commerce using artificial intelligence and quantum hybrid computing to identify potential supply chain shocks before they occur. This early warning mechanism would improve the U.S. government’s ability to find alternative sources and take other mitigation measures with the private sector before supply chain shocks have major negative impacts on the U.S. economy and American consumers.

Blackburn: The Safety of the Supply Chain Is Crucial

Paving the Way for Quantum Applications

Tennessee is home to quantum applications that have become critical as our nation competes on the global stage. Senator Blackburn has fought to pave the way for quantum development in the U.S. Senate, leading several pieces of legislation to bolster the United States’ dominance in this critical space.

While Communist China has publicly acknowledged their goal to lead the world in quantum communications by 2049, it’s critical the United States provide an environment for entrepreneurs and companies to promote competition and continued innovation. Senator Blackburn introduced the bipartisan Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act to establish a public-private partnership for near-term quantum application development and acceleration.

Senator Blackburn also has bipartisan legislation to encourage quantum manufacturing in the United States, building upon her work in the Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act. In 2023, she introduced a bill to improve coordination between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on activities carried out under the National Quantum Initiative Program. This would help build on federal efforts to understand and prepare for quantum technology, improve coordination of quantum research, and strengthen our domestic manufacturing.

Furthermore, Senator Blackburn introduced the Defense Quantum Acceleration Act, bicameral legislation that would supercharge the Department of Defense’s approach to quantum technology and advance U.S. national security, building on the work done at institutions like Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Senator Blackburn Hosts Quantum Development Roundtable In Chattanooga, Tenn.
In August 2023, Senator Blackburn hosted a roundtable discussion with government, research, and industry leaders in Chattanooga, Tenn. to ensure the U.S. remains dominant in quantum research and applications. As one of Tennessee’s emerging tech hubs, using its new quantum network built on the fiber optic network of EPB, she expressed her eagerness to promote academic research into commercial business applications to use quantum technologies to advance design, testing, and manufacturing in the private sector.

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