Senate Commerce Schedules COVID-19 Paper Hearing

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a "paper" hearing April 9 on "Enlisting Big Data in the Fight Against Coronavirus."  

The hearing will look at "recent uses of aggregate and anonymized consumer data to identify potential hotspots of coronavirus transmission and to help accelerate the development of treatments." It will also examine privacy right protections and what the government plans to do with the COVID-19-related data at the end of the pandemic.  

What's a paper hearing? 

Appropriately, the committee has come up with a process for holding hearings in the age of social distancing and stay-at-home mandates.  

The witnesses will submit written testimony, as they usually do, and the chairman and ranking member will submit opening statements, as they usually do. Those will be posted online at the beginning of the paper hearing and committee members can send questions of those witnesses by the close of the day.  

Witnesses will have 96 business hours, or about two weeks, turnaround for their answers. Then both questions and answers will be posted on the committee's website.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.