Democratic Party lawmakers have introduced two pieces of legislation this week designed to enshrine former FCC privacy rules into law, after President Trump repealed them on Monday.
The rules, approved under the Obama administration but which had yet to take effect, would have forced ISPs to explicitly request the consent of consumers to share sensitive personal information such as their browsing history with third parties.
As it stands today, no such opt-in is necessary, although several major service providers including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have stated publicly that they will uphold such privacy protections, at least for now.
However, that’s not good enough for two Democrat lawmakers, senator Ed Markey and congresswoman Jacky Rosen, who introduced separate pieces of legislation seeking to restore the privacy rules.
“Thanks to Congressional Republicans, corporations, not consumers, are in control of sensitive information about Americans’ health, finances, and children. The Republican roll-back of strong broadband privacy rules means ISP no longer stands for Internet Service Provider, it stands for ‘Information Sold for Profit’,” said Markey in a statement.
“This legislation will put the rules back on the books to protect consumers from abusive invasions of their privacy. Americans should not have to forgo their fundamental right to privacy just because their homes and phones are connected to the internet.”
Rosen, meanwhile, claimed that her experience as a computer programmer has taught her that privacy protections like the ones proposed are a vital step in safeguarding sensitive data from hackers.
“I will not stand by and let corporations get access to the most intimate parts of people’s lives without them knowing and without consent,” she added in a statement. “It is appalling that Republicans and President Trump would be in favor of taking American’s most personal information to sell it to the highest bidder. I am proud to stand up for the American people by introducing legislation to reverse this misguided resolution.”
However, there’s little chance either bill will be passed, given the absence of support from Republicans. In the meantime, individual states including Minnesota, Illinois and New York have been drawing up new laws which will protect broadband customers living under their jurisdiction.