U.S. Senate Bill Would Nix FCC Rule Preventing ISPs From Sharing Your Private Data Without Consent

Many American congressman are determined to overturn the “midnight regulations” of the previous administration. The United States Senate’s latest bill proposal would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s rules and allow ISPs to share private data without the consent of the consumer.

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, remarked, “The FCC's midnight regulation does nothing to protect consumer privacy. It is unnecessary, confusing, and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the Internet. My resolution is the first step toward restoring the FTC's light-touch, consumer-friendly approach. It will not change or lessen existing consumer privacy protections. It empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared.”

capitol hill
Image from: Martin Falbisoner

The FCC’s regulation would require ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing information such as geo-location data, financial and health information, children’s information, Social Security numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications. This requirement was supposed to take effect this coming December. ISPs were also supposed to better protect customer information from data and security breaches.

The FTC currently has little control over ISPs and any further control would require action from the FCC or Congress. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii opposes Flake’s proposition and recently stated, “If this [resolution] is passed, neither the FCC nor the FTC will have clear authority when it comes to how Internet service providers protect consumers’ data privacy and security”.

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Supporters of Flake’s proposal include Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
Tags:  FCC, FTC, ISPs