FCC And Broadband Privacy Rules

The vote on Thursday broke along party lines, of course, and a decision to invoke the obscure Congressional Review Act of 1996 in agreeing to a "congressional disapproval" of the rules was passed 50 votes to 48. The House will still need to pass the rules, but, for now, if you're concerned about your data being collected, might we recommend a virtual private network?

If the just-passed measure also clears the House and is signed by President Donald Trump, no future FCC could pass the broadband privacy rules again without further change to USA law. The regulation would have also required companies, such as Comcast and AT&T, to alert the Federal Bureau of Investigation within a week of detecting such breaches. The new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is trying to rebrand the Commission as a technological regulator that manages things like spectrum, with the minimum possible amount of regulation of the telecoms industry as a whole. President Trump, who campaigned on rolling back federal regulations, is likely to sign the repeal.

"These rules. established a double-standard by creating different sets of regulations for internet service providers on the one hand and the rest of the internet ecosystem on the other", USTelecom said in a statement.

"With today's vote, Senate Republicans have just made it easier for American's sensitive information about their health, finances and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission", Sen. "If Republicans and the industry want to [work] hand in hand with consumers and come up with a comprehensive privacy regime, we're happy to meet them at the table", said Gaurav Laroia, policy counsel at Free Press.

The US Senate began to debate on Wednesday to repeal regulations adopted by the Obama administration that required internet service providers to protect customers' privacy.

Its president, Grover Norquist, argued that while "Americans value their privacy", the FCC rules "use our highly valued privacy as a tool to empower agency regulatory expansion at the expense of consumers".

"Your mobile broadband provider knows how you move about your day through information about your geolocation and internet activity through your mobile device", he said. He said self-regulation would allow broadband companies to write their own privacy rules and ignore "reasonable" data security practices.

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"The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help", said Sen.

The action was supposed to be in the House today, the day representatives would vote to approve or reject Trumpcare.

The fight over how broadband providers should handle personal data comes as broadband companies look to expand their businesses and offer marketers more targeted advertising.

NCTA - the Internet & Television Assn., a trade group that includes cable companies, praised the Senate vote and said it would not harm consumer privacy.

Back in October of 2016, the FCC passed some pretty awesome rules that would bar your internet service provider (ISP) from invading your privacy.

Senate Democrats argued that the difference between the ISPS who are subject to the rules and edge providers who are not is that ISP's can track folks everywhere they go, and there is little competition for service if users don't want to be tracked.

  • Desiree Holland