Congress Repeals Last FCC’s Privacy Land Grab, Begins Correcting Prior Commission’s Regulatory Overreach

by Mike Wendy on March 29, 2017

MediaFreedom applauds yesterday’s House action to repeal the FCC’s Internet privacy rules. The legislation now goes to the President where it is expected to be signed into law. This is good news, and represents an important step in correcting the last FCC’s regulatory overreach, which has done immense damage to consumers, society and the Internet ecosystem.

Instead of needlessly complex and confusing rules, American Internet users will once again be guided by an FTC-like privacy regime that will harmonize privacy regulation across all Internet players, boost innovation, provide more useful information to consumers and open up competition, all of which were foreclosed by the previous FCC’s partisan actions.

Of course, Congress will have to stop the policy ping pong by overturning the prior Commission’s punishing utility regulation of ISPs, which is the root issue at hand. Those FDR-era rules thwart sustainable growth and infrastructure deployment. Consequently, not only do ISPs lose, but average Americans do, too. We urge Congress to make this change quickly, and stand ready to support its efforts as it moves forward.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Arthur Rhodes March 29, 2017 at 7:44 pm

The official libertarian party line on privacy:

1.3 Privacy
We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications.

Such a #TLOT you are Mr. Wendy

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Mike Wendy March 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm

And, they are.

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Arthur Rhodes March 29, 2017 at 11:04 pm

If I call the Ford dealership and inquire about a car, can the phone company use that to sell an ad profile of me? No.

If I fill out a form on the Ford dealership website to inquire about a car, my ISP CAN use that to sell an ad profile of me.

Makes a ton of sense. If you’re a libertarian, I am Michael Jordan.

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Mike Wendy March 29, 2017 at 11:45 pm

Yes, they do, MJ.

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Arthur Rhodes April 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Hey Mike, in case you were wondering what real conservatives/libertarians look like. Hint they don’t have to use the #TLOT on twitter.

But 15 House Republicans bucked their party to join a unified Democratic caucus to vote against the resolution. Call it online profiles in courage.

“At the end of the day, it’s your data,” says representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who voted against the repeal. “I don’t see how it could be anyone else’s.”

Davidson says ISPs tracking your web surfing habits to target ads is like the postal service or FedEx snooping through your letters to figure out what junk mail to send you. “If a guy could carry a letter on a horse for weeks and not open it, why can’t [internet providers] carry it for three seconds?” he asks. “What’s changed? It’s just that it’s easier now.”

For most Republicans, it seems, someone else’s private property rights took precedence: the cable and phone companies themselves. Davidson says he believes most of his colleagues subscribed to the free-market reasoning that because the ISPs built the networks, they could do with them what they pleased. But many people don’t have access to more than one home broadband provider–particularly in many of the rural districts that Republicans represent. That limitation was not lost on Republicans who broke rank.

“Consumers have little—if any—choice of internet service providers, because government severely restricts competition,” representative Tom McClintock (R-California) said in a statement. “As long as free choice cannot protect the consumer, rules like this are necessary.”

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Mike Wendy April 3, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Hey, Michael Jordan – you/ he / they are wrong. TLOTs can make mistakes, though. We’ll take ’em back.

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