East County News Service
November 29, 2016 (San Diego) — The Consumer Review Freedom Act, a measure to protect freedom of speech in online consumer reviews, has been approved by both the House and Senate and now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego), author of the bill, says the measure is needed after consumers have found themselves in court, fighting multi-million dollar lawsuits for leaving negative – but truthful – reviews of companies' services on sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
The legislation will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts, which have attracted national scrutiny after some business have used gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services.
“The internet is supposed to be an open-forum for the free exchange of ideas of all kind," said Issa in a statement issued to media. "But how free is that exchange, really, if it’s been cherry-picked and censored to weed out things some people find unfavorable? The bill we’ve now sent to the President’s desk will ensure that the internet remains a place where the freedom of speech can thrive and protect honest consumers from retaliatory litigation. I thank Congressman Lance, Senator Thune and our colleagues in the Senate for helping advance this important reform. The President should sign this bill into law immediately to protect and freedom and openness of the internet.”