Skip to main content

Senate Democrats Introduce FCC Privacy Rule Restoration Bill

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has teamed up with ten other Democratic senators to introduce a bill that would restore the FCC broadband privacy rules House and Senate Republicans just took away with a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval.

Markey was a leading supporter of the FCC rules and pledged to fight their rollback by Republicans.

“Thanks to Congressional Republicans, corporations, not consumers, are in control of sensitive information about Americans’ health, finances, and children," said Markey.

"The Republican roll-back of strong broadband privacy rules means ISP no longer stands for Internet Service Provider, it stands for 'Information Sold for Profit,'" said Markey. "This legislation will put the rules back on the books to protect consumers from abusive invasions of their privacy. Americans should not have to forgo their fundamental right to privacy just because their homes and phones are connected to the internet.”

The CRA resolution prevents the FCC from restoring the rules in substantially the same form, so that even if FCC chairman Ajit Pai wanted to restore them, which he definitely does not, it would take the literal act of Congress to do so.

Co-sponsoring the bill are Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Markey is hedging his bets. He has also reached out to ISPs to get them on the record on how they will protect privacy in the absence of the rules. They have pledged to abide by voluntary standards and have pointed out that the FCC's rules, in large part, had not been in place when they were rolled back.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.