Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect personal data without permission

The broadband privacy rules created by the FCC last year and vigorously debated last night are in danger after the Senate voted to repeal them this morning. Among other things, the rules required ISPs to obtain consumers’ permission in order to use certain sensitive data like browsing history that they obtain through their service.

Sounds like a bad idea, right? It is. I detailed why in a post last night, and plenty of Senators, including Massachusetts’ Ed Markey, who led the creation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, vociferously opposed the resolution.

The Senate voted 50-48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules from being enacted. It now heads to the House for approval.

“If signed by the President, this law would repeal the FCC’s widely-supported broadband privacy framework, and eliminate the requirement that cable and broadband providers offer customers a choice before selling their sensitive, personal information,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a joint statement.

Nathan White, Senior Legislative Manager at Access Now, said “This resolution is a vote for big corporate profits over the rights and civil liberties of average people. The House of Representatives must now stand up for consumers and against the CRA resolution to throw away internet privacy protections.”