With Republicans now in power across the government, Congress has moved aggressively toward undoing Obama-era tech policies.
Net neutrality, the rule that ensures equal access to all websites, and broadband privacy rules are the first targets. Lawmakers also hope to play a bigger role than in the last administration on policies of particular concern to Silicon Valley and internet users, including driverless cars and the scaling back of Federal Communications Commission powers concerning broadband providers.
We talked to Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, who leads the commerce committee that oversees the technology and telecommunications industries, about these efforts. The interview was edited for clarity and length.
How do you want to change net neutrality rules?
We’re open for business. We think a legislative solution is the best alternative and that the F.C.C. under Chairman Tom Wheeler went too far with regulations that were overreaching and basically classified the internet as a public utility under a 1934 statute. Congress needs to be heard from, or you will have a constant back-and-forth on this issue depending on which party is in the White House.