Senate Votes to Strip Privacy Protections from Broadband Users

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Today the Senate voted to permanently strip Americans of privacy and security protections for some of their most sensitive personal information. In a 50–48 vote, the Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure to reverse the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s common-sense broadband privacy rules. The measure also prevents the FCC from passing substantially similar rules to protect broadband customers’ privacy in the future.

“Fifty Senators voted to erase broadband customers’ right to choose whether their internet service providers (ISPs) can sell their personal information, including every website they visit,” said CDT Policy Analyst Natasha Duarte. “The information ISPs have about their customers includes web browsing and video viewing habits, religious information, sexual preferences, health conditions, and location. These are some of the most intimate details about people’s lives, and customers should have control over how companies can use and share this information.”

The FCC’s rules also require ISPs to reasonably protect the security of their customers’ data. “Security breaches can cause serious financial, reputational and emotional harm,” 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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