No, it’s not internet hackers who want to access and sell your private internet data. It’s actually our very own lawmakers. And it seems they are hell-bent on repealing each and every one of former President Obama’s positive polices.
Earlier this month, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) along with 22 other co-sponsors introduced S.J.Res 34, a resolution that would use Congressional Review Act to strip away privacy protection created by the Federal Communications Commission, reported Privacy News Online, and allow telecommunication companies to sell their internet subscribers’ histories.
The new bill, if passed, would enable legislators to overturn privacy rules created by former President Obama by a simple majority vote and would stop FFC from establishing similar policies in the future.
The 2016 regulation prevents internet companies like Verizon from collecting and selling their users’ data, which includes browser history, without their knowledge. The telecom industry has lobbied the government to sell internet history to the highest bidder for years — now it seems, if the bill is approved, they can finally do so.
Flake noted his new bill would not “change or lessen existing consumer privacy regulations.” Instead it is will “block an attempt by the FCC to expand its regulatory jurisdiction and impose prescriptive data restrictions on internet service providers. These restrictions have the potential to negatively impact consumers and the future of internet innovation,” said Flake.
However, he did not explain exactly what form this “negative impact” will take.
“The FCC’s midnight regulation does nothing to protect consumer privacy,” said Flake. “It is unnecessary, confusing and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the internet.
“Just as a flawed line of code can render a new firewall program useless, the new privacy rules that were rushed through in the waning days of the Obama administration risk crashing our longstanding privacy-protection regime,” he added.
These words echo the same sentiments that President Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and many of the other Republicans share about Obama’s Affordable Care Act, so it seems they are not satisfied with any of the former president’s plans.
And S.J. Res 34 is not the only bill that’s causing concerns over customer privacy.
A similar bill, H.J.Res 86, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), has also attracted 17 Republican co-sponsors.
Predictably, Democrats aren’t happy about this either. Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) who oversees the FFC said the new rules would overturn privacy protections and leave customers vulnerable to telecom “robber barons.”
“Consumers will have no ability to stop internet service providers from invading their privacy and selling sensitive information about their health, finances, and children to advertisers, insurers, data brokers or others who can profit off of this personal information, all without their affirmative consent,” Markey said.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Alexandre Meneghini