Spanberger’s Legislation to Expand Global Internet Freedom Passes U.S. House in Defense Authorization Bill, Expected to be Signed Into Law

The National Defense Authorization Act also Includes a Pay Raise for U.S. Servicemembers & the Congresswoman’s Legislation to Improve America’s Response to Illicit Fentanyl Trafficking Along the Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives today passed — as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — bipartisan legislation led by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger to bolster the ability of the United States to protect global access to uncensored information and combat efforts by authoritarian and repressive governments to restrict Internet access.

Many governments around the world — in Russia, China, Cuba, Burma, and Iran — are utilizing the Internet as a means of suppressing information sharing and communications between people, civil society organizations, and journalists. The Iranian regime is using Internet censorship to censor speech, stifle peaceful protests, block coordination, and prevent the rest of the world from witnessing the reality of its violent repression.

The Internet Freedom and Operations (INFO) Act — which Spanberger introduced last week — would help the United States government continue and aggressively support efforts to protect Internet freedom and circumvent censorship online through secure communication. This legislation would authorize increased funding for various Internet Freedom programs through the U.S. Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as for Internet censorship circumvention technologies vetted through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

“Repressive regimes around the globe are using Internet censorship as a tool to suppress dissent, stifle protest, and strengthen their grip on power,” said Spanberger. “As the Iranian regime continues to oppress women and peaceful human rights defenders, the free flow of information is essential to their cause of freedom and exposing the oppression occurring on the ground. As an issue of both national security and basic freedom, the United States must always protect Internet freedom, defend basic rights, and support democratic movements globally. I am glad that our bipartisan, bicameral effort to protect global access to information was included in this year’s defense authorization bill, and I look forward to the President signing the FY2023 NDAA into law.”

The Spanberger-supported defense authorization bill also includes a much-deserved 4.6 percent pay raise for U.S. servicemembers. Multiple additional bills led by Spanberger passed as part of the FY23 NDAA — including bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s response to fentanyl coming through the nation’s borders and ports of entry, bipartisan legislation which the Congresswoman helped lead to track U.S. defense equipment sold to Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies, as well as a Spanberger-supported effort to strengthen oversight of U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

The FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

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