The Senate Just Voted Away Your Internet Privacy

The Senate just voted in favor of a resolution that, if likewise approved by the House and then signed by Trump, will block FCC privacy rules designed to protect consumers' sensitive Internet data. The resolution was passed with a 50-48 vote split along party lines; if it receives ultimate approval, ISPs will be able to share and/or sell their customers' private data, such as their Web browsing history, to private companies without the customers' consent.

The matter revolves around Federal Communications Commission privacy rules rolled out last year that put a limit on what ISPs can do with their customers' data, which includes things like the websites they visit. The rules met ample criticism from certain right-leaning politicians who expressed concerns over the business implications such restrictions would present.

That led to the creation of a joint resolution sponsored by Republication Senator Jeff Flake; it seeks 'disapproval...of the rule submitted by Federal Communications Commission relating to 'Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.'"

This measure doesn't merely target the FCC's privacy rules, but would also stop the Commission from pushing similar rules in the future. Not surprisingly, many industry groups have praised the move, but critics express ample concerns about what it means for the privacy of consumers. Speaking about this, the ACLU's Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani said:

It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. The resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used. The House must now stop this resolution from moving forward and stand up for our privacy rights.