US Senate Votes in Favor of ISPs Selling User Web History, Nixes FCC Privacy Laws

/ 6 years ago

US Senate Votes in Favor of ISPs Selling User Web History, Nixes Privacy Laws

With a vote of 50-48, a Republican majority US senate has voted to strip away Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband privacy protection rules which will allow internet service providers and telecoms to do what ever they want and even profit from user web history. Joint resolution 34 has been sponsored by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced at the beginning of march which is “a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”.

Critics note that politicians have put priority on telecom profits over user privacy. ISPs have been lobbying for several weeks to get lawmakers to repeal the FCC rules that stand between them and their methods of tracking and profiting off customer’s online browsing habits, giving them the ability to sell off user web history. If it makes it through the House, it would roll back the FCC privacy rules completely, but it will also prevent the FCC from writing similar consumer privacy protection rules in the future.

Every single Republican senator with the exception of John Hardy Isakson (R-GA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) who did not vote, voted to approve doing away with these FCC privacy rules.

Not all is lost however, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) has its own set of regulatory frame work and privacy protection rules independent of the FCC. The FTC for example requires companies to receive explicit consent before using a customer’s personal data.

Concern about the move still has some worried however, as many find it necessary to have a broader approach to privacy protection online. Some critics are worried that the differences in regulation will confuse many business and consumers on which to follow and some believe that the new FCC rules will stifle online innovation.

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