Senate Republicans voted today to kill federal privacy rules

Senate Republicans voted today to kill federal privacy rules

Lindsey Duncan
March 24, 2017

The rules would be costly and burdensome, Republicans have claimed, and according to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would "make the internet an uneven playing field". Forty-eight Democratic Senators voted against repealing the regulation while two Republican senators were absent. 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.

In a joint statement following Thursday's Senate vote, FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC commissioner Terrell McSweeney, both Democrats, condemned the legislation.

ISPs have pushed Congress and the FCC to roll back the regs, saying they were overly restrictive in relation to edge providers' privacy regulatory regime and could adversely impact the free web content model.

And Fight for the Future, a tech-supported organization, said that Senators who voted "to sell out their constituents privacy will soon learn that the money they get from cable companies can't buy back our trust". The rules, which were largely set to take effect later this year, would require broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T to seek customer approval before collecting certain data on their online activities and would require them to take "reasonable" measures to protect the data they collect. This bill not only terminates the FCC's privacy rules but also prevents the agency from creating similar privacy protections in the future. "These are some of the most intimate details about people's lives, and customers should have control over how companies can use and share this information".

The rules struck down by the Senate "would risk disrupting the hugely successful internet ecosystem that has developed under the existing framework", said Emmett O'Keefe, the DMA's senior VP of advocacy, in a release following the vote.

Damian Lillard scores a season-high in Portland's win over Miami
It is also worth noting that both Whiteside and Lillard have each started every game in which they have appeared in this season. Point guard Goran Dragic also had 17 points on the night, while shooting guard Tyler Johnson scored 14 points off the bench.

"Our industry remains committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of the personal information of our customers", the cable trade group NCTA - The Internet and Television Association, said in a statement. The argument supporting this decision is based on the myth that the FCC privacy rules put internet service providers at an unfair disadvantage when compared to companies like Google who can profit off consumer data. Flake is chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy and technology. Consumer advocates worry that broadband providers may abuse their power.

"During the drafting of the rule, the FTC raised substantial concerns about the FCC's proposed rule", said Jon Leibowitz, co-chair of the 21st Century Privacy Coalition and former FTC chair under President Obama.

The FCC's definition of sensitive data is broader than the FTC's, which oversees privacy for search engines and social networks.

The rule, published on December 02, 2016, during the final weeks of the Obama presidency, was a modern-day update of the Communications Act of 1934, and the inclusion of telecoms was meant to, per the wording of the rule, "apply the privacy requirements of the Communications Act...to the most significant communications technology of today-broadband Internet access service (BIAS)".