Industry groups push Congress to roll back internet privacy rules

Industry groups push Congress to roll back internet privacy rules
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Conservative and telecommunication industry groups are pushing lawmakers to undo privacy regulations passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year under the Obama administration.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the top members of the Senate Commerce Committee, the groups called for lawmakers to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate the privacy rules. The CRA allows Congress, with presidential approval, to undo regulations recently passed by government agencies, and prevents those agencies from implementing similar rules in the future.

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“The rule harms consumers because it creates confusion in a regulatory environment in which customer data is regulated by two different agency standards, based on whether information is used by an internet service provider or edge provider,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by 18 groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, USTelecom and the Consumer Technology Association.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Jeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump WANTED: A Republican with courage MORE (R-Ariz.) is expected to introduce a CRA bill on Tuesday.

The privacy order requires internet service providers to obtain consumer permission before using their data for marketing purposes. One of the rules, which would have required providers to beef up their consumer data security, was stayed by the FCC last week on the day before it was supposed to go into effect.

Republicans and the telecom industry say the regulations are costly and vague, and argue that the Federal Trade Commission, not the FCC, should have jurisdiction over these privacy issues.

“Congress should disapprove of this anti-consumer data rule so that the new Chairman and Commission can focus on removing other regulatory hurdles to innovation and restore regulatory balance to broadband service and the rest of the Internet ecosystem,” the letter reads.