On Thursday, GOP lawmakers rammed a resolution through the Senate that would seek to abolish a slew of privacy regulations put on ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) by the Obama-Era FCC. The regulations had not gone into effect yet, but essentially required ISP’s to inform consumers on what information was being collected and also required that ISP’s have explicit consent from users if they were to share or sell certain sensitive consumer information, such as browser history, app usage, location data, health information, etc.
The resolution was proposed earlier in March by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). It utilizes the Congressional Review Act to repeal the regulations, while also making sure that they are prevented from ever being implemented again.
Though the regulations have not yet gone into effect as ISP’s have approximately one year to comply with the new terms, advocacy groups for privacy have already come out swinging in response to the news.
Nima Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel, said, “It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of the major Internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon,” and “the resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used…”
Those within the GOP who support this bill argue that the regulations on the ISP’s, who now seem to want to get into the business of Google-esque advertising, are put at a disadvantage when competing with sites such as Google, Twitter, Bing, and Facebook. Unlike ISP’s such as Verizon and Comcast, these sites are put under the watch of the FTC, and thus, face a different level and class of rules regarding the issue. The biggest difference in rules between the two agencies is that the FTC does not, according to Business Insider, require “opt-in consent before using your web-browsing and app-usage histories for advertising purposes.”.
The resolution will now be voted upon in the House. No date has yet been set.