Internet lobbying group is skeptical about new privacy bill

Internet lobbying group is skeptical about new privacy bill
© Greg Nash

The Internet Association, a leading Silicon Valley trade group, expressed skepticism about a bill introduced last week that would strengthen privacy protections for internet users.

The bill, which was put forth by Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnThe evolution of Taylor Swift's political activism Kellyanne Conway responds to Taylor Swift criticism by invoking pop star's lyrics Is there internet life after thirty? MORE (R-Tenn.), would require internet service providers and web companies such as Facebook and Google to get consumers’ permission before sharing their data with advertisers.

In a statement, Internet Association spokesman Noah Theran said the group was “tracking” the proposal.

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“This bill has the potential to upend the consumer experience online and stifle innovation,” Theran said. “Policymakers must recognize that websites and apps continue to be under strict [Federal Trade Commission] privacy enforcement and are not in an enforcement gap, unlike other stakeholders in the ecosystem.”

Earlier this year, Congress voted to kill a set of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that would have imposed similar restrictions on internet service providers, but not websites that share consumer data with advertisers.

Blackburn said that her bill would put all of internet ecosystem under a uniform set of privacy rules.

"I thought the Internet Association would be more supportive of protecting consumers," Blackburn said in a statement to The Hill. "I think if you ask the American people if they're ok with having less control over their online privacy so companies can sell their data — they'd say no."

It's unclear how much traction the legislation will get with Blackburn's colleagues. Democrats are still fuming over the repeal of the FCC privacy rules and the GOP effort underway at the FCC to undo net neutrality protections.

- Updated at 2:14 p.m.