Menu
Senate votes to kill FCC's broadband privacy rules

Senate votes to kill FCC's broadband privacy rules

The Senate action would allow broadband providers to sell customer data and browser histories without permission, critics say

The U.S. Senate has voted to kill broadband provider privacy regulations prohibiting them from selling customers' web-browsing histories and other data without their permission.

The Senate's 50-48 vote Thursday on a resolution of disapproval would roll back Federal Communications Commission rules requiring broadband providers to receive opt-in customer permission to share sensitive personal information, including web-browsing history, geolocation, and financial details with third parties. The FCC approved the regulations just five months ago.

Thursday's vote was largely along party lines, with Republicans voting to kill the FCC's privacy rules and Democrats voting to keep them.

The Senate's resolution, which now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, would allow broadband providers to collect and sell a "gold mine of data" about customers, said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat.

"Your mobile broadband provider knows how you move about your day through information about your geolocation and internet activity through your mobile device," he said. The Senate resolution "will take consumers out of this driver’s seat and place the collection and use of their information behind a veil of secrecy."

But critics of the rules say they are expensive to ISPs and subject them to tough privacy regulations not imposed on web-based companies like Google and Facebook. The FCC's sister agency, the Federal Trade Commission, can bring privacy complaints against web-based companies that aren't ISPs, but the FTC doesn't create privacy regulations, instead typically taking action on a case-by-case basis when companies violate their own privacy promises.

The FCC rules are confusing and costly and "make the internet an uneven playing field," said Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and Senate majority leader.

The IPS privacy regulations are "burdensome rules that hurt more than they help," added Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican.

The FCC has been moving on its own to roll back the ISP privacy rules this year after a Republican majority took over the commission. Earlier this month, the FCC voted to stay a part of the rules requiring broadband providers to take reasonable steps to protect the security of customer data.

Supporters of the regulations say they were necessary after the FCC reclassified broadband as a regulated service, taking privacy enforcement away from the FTC, as part of net neutrality rules in early 2015.

Privacy advocates blasted the Senate's vote, and many net neutrality advocates see the vote as an early step toward dismantling net neutrality.

The vote kills "the only privacy protections Americans can have when they use the internet or their mobile phones," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. If Congress passes the resolution, "Americans will become victims of massive ongoing surveillance from their ISPs," he added.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments