The Senate voted on Thursday to pass a joint resolution to block the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) on enforcing rules that would protect the American consumer against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling consumer information without the consent of the consumer. These rules were made under the Obama Administration and with Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to protect consumer privacy.
Privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are up in arms about the resolution. Neema Singh Guliani of the ACLU talked about how the Senate is willing to “sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.” Kate Tummarella, a privacy analyst for the EFF said this “would be a crushing loss for online privacy”. “ISPs act as gatekeepers to the Internet, giving them incredible access to records of what you do online,” Tummarello said. “They shouldn’t be able to profit off of the information about what you search for, read about, purchase and more without your consent.”
This joint resolution has no bearing in Americans lives until it passes in the House and be signed by President Trump. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was welcoming to the Senate vote saying, “My own core goal is to make sure that [the] uniform expectation of privacy is vindicated through the use of a regulatory framework that establishes a more level playing field.” That is a weird thing to say as the Republicans are trying to take away the FCC’s power to help regulate industries and help the consumer. We live in weird times in which we do not know if the aspect of Internet privacy can survive.