House Votes to Strip Privacy Protections from Broadband Users

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Echoing the Senate vote last week, today the United States House of Representatives voted to permanently strip Americans of common sense privacy and security protections for some of their most sensitive personal information. In a 215-205 vote, the House approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure to reverse the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s broadband privacy rules. The measure also prevents the FCC from passing substantially similar rules to protect broadband customers’ privacy in the future.

“Congress voted today to erase basic privacy protections for Americans in favor of the internet service providers’ (ISPs) bottom line,” said CDT Director of Privacy and Data Michelle De Mooy. “ISPs have access to incredibly sensitive information about us, including everything from web browsing and video viewing habits, religious information, sexual preferences, health conditions, and location. Today’s action means they can collect and share some of the most intimate details of our lives without restriction.”

The FCC’s rules also required ISPs to reasonably protect the security of their customers’ data, including notifying them about data breaches. “Security breaches can cause serious financial, reputational and emotional harm,” CDT Policy Analyst Natasha Duarte said. “Without these rules, everyone who uses broadband will face increased risks to their sensitive information—including financial data and information about their children. This reversal will undermine consumer trust in online services.”

“Broadband customers rely on the FCC to ensure that ISPs protect their personal information,” Duarte said. “The measure approved by the Senate would hamstring the agency’s ability to do this.”

CDT will continue to fight for real digital privacy and security protections for everyone.

For more information about the FCC’s broadband privacy rules, read CDT’s answers to frequently asked questions about the rules. You can also read our opposition to industry groups’ requests for reconsideration of the rules.

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