U.S. human rights abuses MENA

Digital rights champions nominated to lead U.S. FCC and NTIA

Today, U.S. President Joe Biden nominated Jessica Rosenworcel as the first permanent chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Gigi Sohn as the fifth commissioner of the FCC, and Alan Davidson as the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

With these nominations, the FCC and NTIA have complete leadership for the first time since President Biden took office. After former FCC Chair Ajit Pai stepped down nine months ago, the FCC has been deadlocked at 2-2. The deadlock has prevented progress on critically important issues at the Commission, and affected programs like the Emergency Broadband Benefit and the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Similarly, the NTIA has lacked a permanent leader since January, which has impeded action from President Biden’s primary telecommunications advisory agency.

“Congratulations to the new leaders of the FCC and NTIA,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “With full leadership in place, the agencies will have to make up for lost time and move quickly to ensure people are not exploited by internet service providers. This means, at minimum, reinstating net neutrality protections and prioritizing reliable and affordable internet access for everyone, especially as the COVID pandemic and the digital divide persist.”

Access Now will continue to monitor the Biden’s administration’s progress on centering human rights in tech policy in the U.S. Digital Rights in the Biden Era tracker.