The U.S. House of Representatives voted primarily along party lines 215 to 205 Tuesday to repeal FCC’s broadband privacy rules enacted shortly before the end of the Obama administration, with only the President’s signature needed to make it official.

“The Senate approved the CRA [Congressional Review Act] resolution March 23 by a vote of 50 to 48. The resolution removes the rules, approved on a party line vote Oct. 27, from the congressional record and prevents the FCC from adopting substantially similar rules in the future,” John Eggerton reports for Broadcasting & Cable. “Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), who was managing the rules for voting on the CRA, called it a duplicative regulation ‘dropped on the doorstep’ by the previous Administration.”

“In his opening statement, which was the bulk of the Republican floor argument for the bill, he said that the FCC’s new and expanded privacy rules were adopted a mere 10 days before the election, on a party-line vote. He called them a departure from the Federal Trade Commission’s [privacy by design] approach. He charged that the FCC’s approach unfairly skewed the market in favor of providers, in this case edge providers, like search engines, social media sites and content providers like Netflix, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, who are under the FTC’s opt-out approach to web browsing and app use, rather than the FCC rules’ opt-in requirement for ISP use of similar info,” Eggerton reports. “He said the FCC rules are arbitrary government intervention in the free market that can inhibit security and market competition and their cybersecurity notification requirements could lead to ‘notice fatigue’ while creating confusion by ‘subjecting part of the internet ecosystem to different rules and jurisdictions.’ Burgess said the CRA would simply restore the status quo before the 2015 open internet order and bring the marketplace back into balance.”

“During debate on the actual bill, Republicans lined up to blast the [FCC] rules,” Eggerton reports. “They said the Federal Trade Commission should be overseeing broadband privacy. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) said he has introduced legislation that would close a legal gap and make sure that the FTC can regulate broadband privacy.”

“The bill was voted on a closed rule, which meant no amendments, though Democrats opposed that rule and tried to add an amendment that would have made President Trump, and future presidents and presidential candidates, release their tax returns,” Eggerton reports. “House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) said Tuesday that rolling back the FCC’s privacy regs would be the 15th CRA resolution that has passed the House in an effort to “bring back common sense regulation.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Thursday:

We’d like to see “further action by the FCC or Congress” to let the FTC regulate online privacy beyond what, if anything, is currently protected by existing “federal and state laws” posthaste.

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