In a 50-TO-48 party line vote on Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal privacy regulations aimed at broadband providers
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year passed a set of privacy regulations that prevented broadband internet providers from monetizing your browsing data without consent. As early as today, the U.S. Senate could vote on a resolution to reverse the earlier FCC actions. Moreover, the legislation would block the FCC from passing similar rule going forward.
If passed by the Senate, the resolution still requires a vote in the House of Representatives and the signature of President Donald Trump.
Protecting user’s privacy has fallen to the Federal Trade Commission since the start of the digital age. However, in 2015, the FCC reclassified ISP’s as “common carriers”. This designation means that the FCC has the sole authority to regulate providers. An appeals court had earlier granted the agency sole authority to regulate “common carriers”.
With its newfound power, the FCC passed more stringent regulations than the those enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Specifically, ISP’s could not sell browsing data unless they received explicit consent from the customer. The broadband providers claimed that the FCC rules gave internet titans like Google and Facebook an unfair advantage since they make billions of dollars selling your browsing data by without explicit consent.