Congress votes to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules

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.

U.S. Senate votes to overturn Internet privacy rules – March 23, 2017
FCC approves LTE-U devices; ‘big win for wireless consumers’ – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai – February 23, 2017
U.S. FCC chairman wields weed whacker, takes first steps against so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 3, 2017
How so-called ‘net neutrality’ will fare under President Trump – January 26, 2017
New FCC chairman Ajit Pai vows to take a ‘weed whacker’ to so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 24, 2017
President Trump elevates Ajit Pai to FCC Chairman – January 23, 2017


  1. This vote was bought and paid for by TelCo/ISP/Cable Lobbyists. And Republicans- always for sale to the highest bidder- were more than happy to free (they always like the word free) your data into the annals of commerce from your ISP.

    Until Drumpf signs this, your ISP is forbidden to sell your online data to third parties because of FCC rules. Since you already pay your ISP some of the highest access rates in the developed world, you would think they might have your back, but the ISPs want to sell your location data, browsing habits and all the rest for even more profit.

    Here is the rub:
    The FCC rules said ISPs could not make you surrendering your privacy rights a condition of service (take it or leave it), that they had to report to you breaches of their cache of your data (you might want to know if North Korea has hacked Comcast’s servers), and that they had to protect your location data (might come in handy).

    Now remember, you PAY for your internet service and these common sense rules were to protect your privacy. In Republicanland, these are “job killing regulations” because we know AT&T is dirt poor after swallowing up Direct TV and soon Time-Warner and they might need some more revenue and you will be the cash cow.

    Then here is the really funny part: now Law Enforcement will not need a Warrant or NSL to get your phone and Internet Data- they can just buy it on the “free market” from your ISP or whomever else they sell it to: every non-secure website connection and all the location data in micro fine detail. And just like Pandora’s Box, once your data is in the wild your privacy and identity are fair game.

    See, this is very different from what Google or Facebook does. Google and Facebook data mine your stuff and they provide you services for free. ISPs now will be able to data mine your stuff and you still get to pay. That is your Republican Freedom and Trump’s Making America Great Again.

  2. People in Congress who hate the privacy of their constituents gave the private lives over to Wall St. for free; All Wall St. had to do is tell Congress to do it and it did Wall St.’s bidding. This is the kind of Socialism that the wealthy, the money managers always expect and get, that Wall St. demands but denies normal people.

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