Congress successfully overturned a previous internet privacy protection law set in place by the Obama administration last Tuesday in a 215-to-205 vote. The previous law required that internet providers request permission before collecting users online data and activities.
President Trump is expected to sign this legislation in the upcoming weeks.
When this bill gets signed, online users searches will be seen as the property of the internet provider. Allowing for the internet provider to sell browser history, geographical locations of users and any other online activity used by consumers.
The White House submitted a press release in which they stated the support for overturning the previous “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services” law.
This new regulation sparks from the Congressional Review Act which allows for Congress to repeal any previous passed regulations.
States have already started to adapt new bills in order to counteract this federal overturn. Minnesota has introduced a bill which requires internet providers to get written consent from their users before selling their information. Illinois approved two introduced measures which include internet providers and companies to disclose any data of their users if requested by said user and prohibiting apps from tracking users location without consent.
“Your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family – where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more,” stated House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an interview before the vote on Tuesday.
The new bill, which has already created a major spark in controversy between federal and state legislation, is what political members such as Minnesota Senator Warren Limmer say they need to protect their citizens from.
“We should be outraged at the invasion that’s being allowed on our most intimate means of communication,” said Limmer in an interview with Pioneer Press. “This is an amendment that so urgently needs to be addressed.”
When it comes to major controversial pieces of legislation passed at the federal level, state governments have been able to regulate their own laws in ways that are representations of the people who reside there.
In California, legislation was recently passed on the state level that regulated government access to online communication such as emails or instant messaging.
“California is going to supplant Congress, and it’s going to be augmented by states like Illinois, Minnesota and even Texas in efforts to protect consumer privacy,” said David Vladeck, the former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection bureau, in an interview with The New York Times.
Many other states are expected to follow in suit in pushing other pieces of legislature to protect their internet privacy including employees, students and tenants.