Today, the White House issued its full-throated support for a joint resolution that would repeal regulations limiting what internet service providers can do with customers’ private data. The rules, introduced under the Obama administration last year, stipulated that an ISP must obtain opt-in permission to use and share (i.e. sell) consumer’s private data, including browsing history, health and financial information and more.
According to the White House statement, the Trump administration “strongly supports” Senate joint resolution 34 (H.Res. 230). The resolution is still being debated in the House of Representatives as we speak, where it is widely expected to pass. The Trump administration’s support, while not surprising given its willingness to help big business and its passion for deregulation, is the final hurdle to stripping away these consumer-friendly protections, which were set to go into effect by the end of 2017.
The full text of the White House statement is included below.
The Administration strongly supports House passage of S.J.Res. 34, which would nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s final rule titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services,” 81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016). The rule applies the privacy requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 to broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other telecommunications carriers. In particular, the rule requires ISPs to obtain affirmative “opt-in” consent from consumers to use and share certain information, including app usage and web browsing history. It also allows ISPs to use and share other information, including e-mail addresses and service tier information, unless a customer “opts-out.” In doing so, the rule departs from the technology-neutral framework for online privacy administered by the Federal Trade Commission. This results in rules that apply very different regulatory regimes based on the identity of the online actor.
If S.J.Res. 34 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law.