GOP rep defends online privacy rollback: ‘Nobody has got to use the internet’

GOP rep defends online privacy rollback: ‘Nobody has got to use the internet’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerClock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers It's time to end big government spying on American citizens Dalai Lama worried US becoming more ‘selfish, nationalist’ MORE (R-Wis.) at a recent town hall told a woman worried about internet privacy that using the internet is optional.

In the video, first made public by the liberal super PAC American Bridge, Sensenbrenner responds to a woman asking about Congress’s decision to roll back Obama-era internet privacy laws.

“Well, you know, nobody has got to use the internet,” Sensenbrenner told the woman.

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“And the thing is that if you start regulating the internet like a utility, if we did that right at the beginning, we would have no internet,” he continued.

Sensenbrenner added that he does not think it’s his “job” to say “you cannot get advertising for your information being sold.”

“I think we ought to have more choices rather than fewer choices with the government controlling our everyday lives,” he said.

The House last month voted to undo privacy regulations adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Trump signed the legislation, blocking the regulations. 

The FCC rules, which had not yet gone into effect, would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service providers could do with their data by requiring that companies get permission before using customers' information for targeted ads.

Republicans argued that the regulations would have forced internet service providers to adhere to rules that don't apply to websites such as Google or Facebook, which also collect consumer information for data-driven ads.