Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules

Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, courts, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington, where GOP leaders were forced to postpone a vote on their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill as they scrambled for votes.

Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY

The Senate voted Thursday to strike down Obama-era Internet privacy rules.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last October passed the online privacy rules to crack down on the advertising practices of Internet service providers.

This is the latest example of Republican lawmakers turning to the Congressional Review Act to eliminate recently published regulations from the Obama administration. But it marks the first time during the Trump administration that the upper chamber initiated the repeal of a regulation.

The House is expected to pass the disapproval resolution in the coming weeks, and send it to President Trump’s desk for final approval.

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The Hill's tech team has the story:

The rules require Internet service providers such as AT&T and Verizon to obtain customers’ permission before using their personal information for advertising purposes.

Critics of the privacy regulations say they are too onerous, and subject service providers to stricter regulations than websites such as Facebook and Google, which also collect consumer data.

The Senate vote immediately drew criticism from privacy and consumer advocates like the ACLU, Public Knowledge and Free Press, while trade groups praised the move.

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday night, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeAnti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid Arpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument MORE (R-Ariz.), who introduced the bill, said the FCC regulations were an example of a “bureaucratic power grab.”

“Passing this CRA will send a powerful message that federal agencies can’t unilaterally restrict constitutional rights and expect to get away with it,” Flake said.

But Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (Ore.) railed against the measure on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, saying it would leave consumers vulnerable.

“President Trump may be outraged by fake violations of his own privacy, but every American should be alarmed by the very real violation of privacy that will result of the Republican rollback of broadband privacy protections," Markey said in a statement after the vote.

“With today’s vote, Senate Republicans have just made it easier for American’s sensitive information about their health, finances and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission," he continued.

 

TOMORROW’S REGS TODAY

Keep an eye on these rules in Friday’s edition of the Federal Register:

—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will strengthen certain fruit and vegetable importation restrictions.

Under the Obama administration, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service loosened the importation restrictions for Argentine lemons. To comply with President Trump’s regulatory moratorium, the USDA will delay those changes for a second time, essentially strengthening the rules.

The changes will now go into effect on May 26.

—The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will review money transfer rules.

The CFPB plans to assess the agency’s regulations for “consumer remittance transfers,” better known as money or “wire” transfers.

The review could lead to potential future rulemaking.

The public has 60 days to comment.

—The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will rewrite regulations for a program that seeks to bring more women and minorities into their workforce.

The changes will go into effect immediately.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

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Experian fined $3M over ‘inaccurate’ credit scores 

Frankel challenges witness endorsement of Gorsuch

Human rights leaders warn against confirming Gorsuch 

Schumer a no on Gorsuch, will urge Dems to oppose 

GOP rep asks Trump to roll back US climate commitment

Royal Jordanian airlines trolls US over laptop ban

Gulf air carriers work to contain fallout from electronics ban

FCC: Over 12,000 callers couldn’t reach 911 during AT&T outage

FCC chairman: Whether NY Times, CNN, NBC are 'fake news' is a ‘political debate’

Senators war over Wall Street during hearing for Trump's SEC pick

FCC launches crackdown on fraudulent robocalls

Interior to allow employees to bring their dogs to work: report

ourt rejects green group’s claim of pro-pipeline bias at regulator

Scientists made a detailed ‘roadmap’ for meeting the Paris climate goals – Vox 

 

BY THE NUMBERS

3: Proposed rules

6: Final rules

(Friday's Federal Register)

We'll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill's Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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