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Senate Votes To Kill FCC's Broadband Privacy Rules ( 404

The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law that requires internet service providers to obtain permission before tracking what customers look at online and selling that information to other companies. PCWorld adds: The Senate's 50-48 vote Thursday on a resolution of disapproval would roll back Federal Communications Commission rules requiring broadband providers to receive opt-in customer permission to share sensitive personal information, including web-browsing history, geolocation, and financial details with third parties. The FCC approved the regulations just five months ago. Thursday's vote was largely along party lines, with Republicans voting to kill the FCC's privacy rules and Democrats voting to keep them. The Senate's resolution, which now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, would allow broadband providers to collect and sell a "gold mine of data" about customers, said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat. Kate Tummarello, writing for EFF: [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. They shouldn't be able to profit off of the information about what you search for, read about, purchase, and more without your consent. We can still kill this in the House: call your lawmakers today and tell them to protect your privacy from your ISP.
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Senate Votes To Kill FCC's Broadband Privacy Rules

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  • by Neuroelectronic ( 643221 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:41PM (#54096729)

    About what VPN i use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:41PM (#54096733)

    What the subject says...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:44PM (#54096759)

    Yet another freedom evaporates thanks to corporate greed and political corruption

  • by Scorpinox ( 479613 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:46PM (#54096779)

    Someone should start a kickstarter to buy and release the browsing history of every US Senator who voted for this.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:58PM (#54096885)

      That's both really funny and yet a really good idea that we could all get behind.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Laws like this DO NOT work both ways. They never have, and they never will. A stunt like this will not motivate politicians to change their ways, but merely to punish you. They are the ones with the means to enforce double-standards, and they absolutely will.

        Know your place.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:52PM (#54096821) Journal
    Companies want to extract maximum revenue from careless and casual customers and would grudgingly provide better deals to informed customers who insist on fair deals. They try to give coupons and deals to the informed customers and charge the rack rate for the customers who don't bother. Till now they could only do this at broad categories.

    Once they have individualized information, all customers lose their bargaining power. They will know exactly how much you can be squeezed. Unless you are constantly on the vigil and constantly know the best price for each product, you will be taken to the cleaners.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:53PM (#54096851)
    The Democrats would be on a lot higher moral ground if they had shown any outrage about the Snowden revelations and what the NSA is doing to Americans during the Obama administration.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      While you do have a point about gov't snooping; gov't snooping and corporate snooping are mostly two different issues. Both are problems.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        Nope. These days it's all the same. The snooping that corporates do, the snooping the government does, the snooping the corporates do FOR government and the lax regulation the government provides to corporates for their snooping. They rub each other's backs.

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          While the 2 are related, and they are both severe problems, they are also very different issues.

          The government snoops on you to find some reason to prosecute you.
          Companies snoop on you to find some way to part you from your money.

          the "nothing to hide" camp has no issue with the former, but may still hate the latter. While some of the "freedom from government tyranny" types have no problem with the latter, but hate the former.

          No legislative solution is ever likely to target both at the same time (and if we'r

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:27PM (#54097135)

        It's unlikely there will be a legal solution to corporate snooping.

        The only possible solution to government snooping is technical. Which will solve the first problem as a bonus.

  • by stolidobserver ( 4112531 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:58PM (#54096877)
    What I'm seeing as the standout piece of information here is that this was only a law for a short time. This means it must have been legal to sell your information all along except for this short period of time. Now that someone has put a spotlight on it, I guess this will create jobs... in the web proxy industry. I detest both parties of government. If they aren't trying to oppress the majority with ridiculous laws they are trying to oppress the majority with a lack of sane laws.
  • Plutocracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:58PM (#54096879) Journal

    I'm pretty sure if you polled voters, even those in red states, they'd mostly be against this. So why did the Senate do this? Because they get campaign funds and free campaign ads from big telecoms.

    If this is not plutocracy in action, I don't know what the hell is.

    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:43PM (#54097235) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, is there an actual reason for this that isn't corruption or some kind of libertarian ideological nutcasery?

      I try not to take these things at face value, but everything looks like blatant corruption from here. It might give me some faith in humanity to know there's a good reason beyond "Ayn Rand would approve, and so does my wallet."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meta-monkey ( 321000 )

        Seriously, is there an actual reason for this that isn't corruption or some kind of libertarian ideological nutcasery?

        The Republicans think the FTC should be regulating what businesses sell what information to others, not the FCC. The tail end of the Obama FCC said "naw, we're going to do that instead."

        That's the actual point of contention, but "Republicans gonna tell everybody about your midget porn for cash" is better clicks.

        • Can't wait to see the FTC introducing rules any day then, to close this loophole, since it's about assigning regulation to the most relevant authority and not selling away every American's privacy. I'll start my waiting clock now. Shouldn't be long right?

        • Re:Plutocracy (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DamnOregonian ( 963763 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:50PM (#54098677)
          No, the Republicans know the FTC doesn't have the legal jurisdiction to rule on this, and are thus claiming that it is the realm of the FTC to rule on. The FCCs jurisdiction by passed law was less contentious, so Obama sent it that way to get the job done, since he knew damn well the Republicans weren't going to clearly empower the FTC to do it, since they are idiologically against the idea of limiting the size of dildo you're allowed to penetrate American consumers with.

          But your story sure sounds so much easier to defend.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @01:59PM (#54096893) Journal

    That is what you get for voting for these politicians. But hey enjoy those tax cuts that you probably didn't get if you are not a millionaire.

    To me I can not see how any smart technical person can vote for any Republican. As it stands today the GOP votes:
    1. For mega corporations and monopolies from tech companies who are anti opensource
    2. Believe climate change doesn't exist and is an invention of these elite socialists
    3. Support Trump and his competency as shown on any news site
    4. Hate highspeed internet and do not believe in infrastructure improvements
    5. Believe more H1B1 visa immigrants are needed
    6. Believe the bible should be taught in biology classes (it is in Texas!!)
    7. Believe science should not be funded as it is only opinion oriented and not based on facts like you get from Church or Foxnews
    8. Want more mega monopolies that limit internet and support throttling
    9. Support snooping by corporations
    10. Believe in unlimited funding by companies to elected officials to vote against your own self interests
    11. Believes in old school coal and oil and does not want alternative sources of energy

    Yes this post is going to anger MANY. But it HAS to be said. I lean libertarian myself but I am registering as a democrat as I feel as I.T. and science professionals who go to this site that the Republican Party is the biggest danger we face. Even more dangerous than Microsoft was back in the day.

    Anyone with an IQ over 100 who is not a millionaire and works in the I.T. field needs to stop supporting these guys.

  • Overreach (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I know the article wants us to think this is a red vs blue debate, but before you pass a judgement on the republicans, go and actually read the regulation. Go ahead. I'll wait. Now try to implement that. Good luck! The real problem is the refusal to comprompise between these blundering politcal parties. The untold story is it appears the republicans wanted a much simpler form of regulation and the democrats being in power would not negotiate. Now the tides have turned and rather than ammend the overreaching

  • I imagine just that would be very valuable. What are they thinking about today.. what news sites do they use...

    Also the porn history of all the senators would be very interesting.

    I can imagine reporters suing ISP's now for info on the senators if they sell the info to others and not to them.

  • by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:08PM (#54096969)

    The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law that requires internet service providers to obtain permission before tracking what customers look at online and selling that information to other companies.

    The only way I can interpret this action is that Republicans value corporations over people.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:24PM (#54097097)

    What's worse than no data? Poisoned data. A collection of data where you cannot tell which is legit and which is bogus.

    What we need is a tool that simply opens a LOT of connections to a LOT of servers worldwide. No need to hide your browsing in VPN. Hide it in noise.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Now what happens if just one of those "LOT of connections" hits an FBI honeypot child porn site?

      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        If you are the only one using this tool - bad things will happen to you. If many people are using this tool and they are all hitting red flags - then FBI has to go back to 'warrant and wiretap' methods of doing things. Then they capture data, some techie explains them this tool and nothing bad happens.
    • Is there a plugin for this? Even having the plugin installed would throw any data gathered into question


      I am not brave enough to do it. I doubt most people are.
  • For the Knee Jerks (Score:5, Informative)

    by footNipple ( 541325 ) <(moc.semitaidni) (ta) (elppintoof)> on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:25PM (#54097109)
    For the kneejerks, I humbly offer the original document this Senate resolution references: []

    I wonder if the Senate overturned this regulation because they hate privacy or because of the fact these are "legislature level" rules being enacted by unelected bureaucrats in the last days of an administration that did everything it could to control its citizenry without the approval of Congress.

    And this is to say nothing of the fact that Google and their ilk shouldn't be allowed to indulge in their raging data collection fetishes without letting the big telcoms and isp's wet their beaks. Right?
  • More Information (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apharmdq ( 219181 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:29PM (#54097145)

    I mentioned this elsewhere, so I'll mention it here:
    From what I've been able to gather, this is about S.J. Res. 34, a resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the FCC in December 2016 about protecting privacy of broadband and telecommunications customers. I've only browsed through the FCC rule, so I don't know the complete details on it just yet, but I would hesitate to jump to conclusions here.

    First, I'd like to know better what the rule itself says, because depending on how it's written, there may be acceptable grounds for rejecting it.

    Secondly, do know that this rule only came into effect on January 3 of this year. So up until 3 months ago, these supposed protections didn't apply to anyone. So if this resolution does completely pass, that means we roll back to how things were at the end of last year.

    I'm going to hold off on losing my mind until I get the chance to read up a bit more on the FCC rule and the details behind it. Sometimes knowing the context of something makes it a lot more understandable.

  • will be the first customers for this data as well as the Ministry Of Web Browning History.

  • For all the good it will do for you. Republicans own the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and about 2/3rds of the Governors currently. What they want they are going to get.

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      Old think. Stupid think. Sheep think. The ESTABLISHMENT owns everything. Democrat establishment, Republican establishment, it's all the same fucking thing.

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Old think. Stupid think. Sheep think. The ESTABLISHMENT owns everything. Democrat establishment, Republican establishment, it's all the same fucking thing.

        Bingo, Wish I had mod points to give you.

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Democrat establishment, Republican establishment, it's all the same fucking thing.

        No, not true, Donald.

        The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law
        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          Yeah, yeah, yeah. And ObamaCare was passed without a single Republican vote. It works both ways. One branch of the Establishment party is a little less wrong on some things, and the same for the other branch on other things.

  • by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:43PM (#54097233)
    Writing this post through VPN. Raises the cost of internet overall but added benefits include inability of internet trackers (DoubleClick, etc) to identify you by IP address. Honestly I'd rather avoid paying more money to these corporate ISP monopolies that would use it to further restrict our lives.

    Sucks for people who are barely making enough thanks to a) corporations destroying unions over the last three decades b) corporations outsourcing jobs (globalization), and c) corporations raising price for internet access (thanks to law enforced monopolies).

    It's a sad state of affairs in the telecom industry for end users.
  • Pssst. The Senate does NOT rule the US. All legislation has to pass the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President before becoming effective. This thing hasn't passed the House yet, and it hasn't reached the President's desk yet. I'm not telling you either the House or the President will likely derail it, but they might.

  • It was never a law (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2017 @02:51PM (#54097291)

    1. It was an FCC rule, not a law passed by Congress. Resolution didn't repeal it. One section was struck because it didn't do anything to actually protect user privacy because of exemptions in rule, it didn't address privacy issues of services like Facebook, Google,, and because it likely violated 1st amendment protection of commercial speech by singling out ISPs while not addressing other communications service providers.
    2. It was approved by the FCC 2-1 vote in late October 2016. It was a last minute decision that
    3. It was scheduled to go into effect March 2 2017, but had been stayed after the election. The privacy rule has never been in effect.
    4. It was an attempted power grab of the FCC over that of the FTC which, up until a ninth court of appeals decision in 2016, had regulatory jurisdiction over broadband data providers. Expect more regulatory reform to reverse the 9th court's ruling and to make it a requirement that any major change to a regulatory agency jurisdiction will need congressional approval first.

    • Thank you! That's what I was getting from it too, though I haven't had time to go over all the details.

  • #MAGA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    But those emails! It would have been a disaster to have a president under FBI investigation, right?

  • To give out all the personal information on our beloved senators and their browsing habits. Expect to see a lot of porn sites on the R side.
  • Before you didn't have privacy but you were told you did and thought you did. They were lying to you.

    Now you KNOW you don't. What are you going to do about it?

  • We see corporations go to great lengths to make sure their own data is protected by law and monetized but individual's personal data can be spied on and sold without consent or compensation. If I were to use my Internet connection to analyze my ISP's traffic I am an unauthorized hacker who could receive a prison sentence; my ISP on the other hand could profit by selling my location browser history to the highest bidder with no repercussions under this proposed law.

    Being that corporations are entities defin

  • by AutodidactLabrat ( 3506801 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:06PM (#54098785)
    Who said there was not a dime's difference between the party's?
    One gave us our constitutional rights in the digital universe, the other took them away
    I leave the math to the more rational among us.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.