I have recently received a letter in response to grievances that I have been making to government officials regarding anti-competitive and proprietary social media networks. I very much appreciate the response from Dianne Feinstein, she has also responded to other grievances about software patents in the past, and she has been vocal at getting an Executive Order for Cybersecurity from President Barack Obama, and a proponent for privacy online.
Here is a copy of the booklet that I have been sending, A Revolution Online (available in both English and Español):
For accessibility purposes, the letter has been made available as text below:
Mr. Braydon Fuller
112 West 5th Street #870
Los Angeles, California 90013
Dear Mr. Fuller:
Thank you for writing to express your concerns regarding social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. I commend you for the great deal of thought that you have invested in considering the operations of these services, and thank you for sharing your booklet on the subject for me. I also sincerely apologize for the delay in my response. For security reasons, postal mail is routed to an off-site facility for testing before it is released to my office, and your letter was delayed in the process.
I recognize the importance of the Internet, and social networks in particular, in providing a relatively inexpensive, open, easy-entry means of sharing ideas, information, pictures, and text around the world. In closed societies, the Internet provides alternative sources of information, and sometimes a means to organize politically. The openness and the freedom of expression provided by the Internet have proven to be an unprecedented and often disruptive force in some closed societies.
The growth of the Internet has given us greater and faster access to information than ever before – not just for individuals, but also for financial, medical, educational, and governmental organizations. As the Internet becomes a more and more integral part of our daily lives, it is essential that we ensure that personal privacy is protected when people go online.
I understand that you believe the business practices of social networking companies such as Facebook and Twitter could be considered anti-competitive and that you would support government regulation of this industry for that reason.
As you may know, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission share concurrent jurisdiction over antitrust enforcement. It is their duty to carefully review, among other things, anti-competitive business practices and the potential implications of mergers on consumers and businesses.
Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights has a role in oversight of antitrust law and policy. Although I am not a member of this Subcommittee, be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should this matter come before the full Committee.
Although legislation has not been introduced in the Senate regarding this issue, rest assured that I will keep your comments in mind should the Senate consider legislation on social networks. In addition, please know that I will do what I can to ensure a competitive, pro-consumer marketplace.
Once again, thank you for writing. If you should have any further comments or questions, do not hesitate to call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at http://feinstein.senate.gov. Best regards.
United States Senator