Senate Votes to Scrap Obama-Era Internet Privacy Rules

Senate lawmakers voted Thursday to repeal Obama-era privacy regulations that would bar internet service providers from selling people’s personal information and browsing habits. The rules, which have not yet taken effect, were approved last year over objections from Republican lawmakers. The rules would require internet providers to obtain consent from consumers before using their geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information, and web-browsing history for advertising purposes. Republican senators outnumbered their Democratic counterparts Thursday, however, voting 50-48 to pass a resolution preventing the privacy protections from coming into force. If the resolution passes the House and is signed by President Trump, the Federal Communications Commission will be barred from implementing similar protections for consumers without further changes to the law. Opponents have warned the new measure makes consumers easy prey for internet providers like AT&T and Comcast, who would be able to sell consumers’ personal information without their consent. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee and a vocal critic of the broadband privacy rules, reassured critics Thursday that privacy protections will be in place even without the Obama-era regulations.