Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Senate Starts Work On Blocking FCC Broadband Privacy Rules

The Senate on Wednesday began debating a measure that would allow it to Eliminate the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Rules barring Internet Service Providers (ISP) from using Consumer Information without their Consent.

The Rules passed by the FCC in October prevent Broadband Companies from selling "sensitive" Consumer Information like App Usage Data and Web Browsing History to Third Parties like Advertisers.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who offered the Congressional Review Act Resolution (CRA), called the FCC's passage of the Rules "unsettling," and a "bureaucratic power-grab." Flake also argued that Consumers are already Protected by section 222 of the Communications Act, which provides some Rules on what Data Telecommunications companies can Collect from Consumers. "Passing this CRA will send a powerful message that federal agencies can't unilaterally restrict constitutional rights and expect to get away with it," Flake said.

Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) delivered a lengthy Rebuttal on the Senate floor. "Passing [the CRA] will take consumers out of this driver's seat and place the collection and use of their information behind a veil of secrecy, despite rhetoric surrounding our debate today suggesting that eliminating these common-sense rules will better protect consumers' privacy online or will eliminate consumer confusion," Nelson contended. "It will create a "privacy free" zone for broadband companies – with no federal regulator having effective tools to set rules of the road for collection, use, and sale of uniquely personal information," Nelson continued.

The Senate's vote tonight will be the first step in killing the Rules. Flake's Resolution will likely receive a vote on Final passage tomorrow.

The CRA will then need to be passed in the House next and subsequently signed by President Trump.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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