'This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy'
The US Senate has voted to overturn internet privacy rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last October.
The rules were put in place to protect web users, banning internet service providers (ISPs) from sharing consumers’ web browsing data, including history and financial, health, communications and location information, without their prior approval.
ISPs have a lot to gain from the Senate’s decision, which will almost certainly lead to them getting the green light to sell people’s web data to advertising companies without permission.
The House needs to vote the same way before the FCC’s rules can be scrapped, though President Trump has the power to veto any decision and keep them in place.
If the Senate’s decision is approved, the FCC will be prevented from introducing similar rules in the future, and will have to create a new set of privacy requirements.
“This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers' use of social media sites and websites that often they talk for granted,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal ahead of the vote.
Following the vote, Senator Ed Markey said “ISP” should stand for “information sold for profit,” and “invading subscriber privacy,” according to Ars Technica.
The rules were approved by the FCC when it was under Democratic leadership and were set to come into effect earlier this month.
“President Trump may be outraged by fake violations of his own privacy, but every American should be alarmed by the very real violation of privacy that will result [from] the Republican roll-back of broadband privacy protections,” added Senator Markey.