GOP senator offers measure to undo FCC internet privacy rules

GOP senator offers measure to undo FCC internet privacy rules
© The Hill

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House Flake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced a measure on Tuesday that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) privacy rules for internet service providers.

The resolution would kill the FCC’s ‘Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services’ regulation through the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to reject certain recently passed regulations by majority vote.

The FCC rules limit broadband providers from accessing and collecting personal customer information, including web browsing data and app usage history.

The regulation, approved by the agency in October, was opposed by internet service providers who said it prevented them from using their customers' data for profit as most internet companies do.

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Flake's resolution has 21 Republican co-sponsors, including Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump’s infrastructure plan may slip to next month Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Trump's infrastructure team to huddle with senators MORE (Wyo.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure GOP on precipice of major end-of-year tax victory MORE (Mo.) and Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.).

The privacy rules were a result of the FCC's contentious net neutrality rules, which reclassified broadband providers as common carriers.

If successful, Flake’s resolution will be the latest blow to net neutrality.

Some critics have opposed the FCC's privacy rules, saying they clash with privacy regulations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“The rules deviate substantially from the FTC's successful privacy model and are fatally flawed,” wrote 21st Century Privacy Coalition co-chairs former FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.). “The resolution will give the Administration the opportunity to hit the reset button and develop a holistic approach to privacy for the entire internet ecosystem that benefits consumers."

The Consumer Technology Association also voiced support for the move, writing that the broadband privacy measures could “they could establish a dangerous precedent for the entire internet.”

But Democrats have fiercely opposed talk of undoing the privacy rules.

In February, Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals Dems say they have 50 votes in Senate to overrule net neutrality repeal MORE (D-Mass.) blasted attempts to roll back the measures in a press call with several groups who supported the rules.

“Killing the FCC privacy rule ... would open up an unregulated Wild West where consumers would have no defense against abusive invasions of their privacy by their internet service provider,” Markey said on the call.