Dems urge Trump to veto bill blocking online privacy rule

Dems urge Trump to veto bill blocking online privacy rule
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer of N.Y., speaks during an interview in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is urging President Donald Trump to veto a resolution that would kill an online privacy regulation, a move that could allow internet providers to sell information about their customers' browsing habits.

The New York senator and 46 other Senate Democrats signed a letter calling on Trump to "tell us whose side he's really on."

The Federal Communications Commission rule issued in October was designed to give consumers greater control over how service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon share information. But critics said the rule would have stifled innovation and picked winners and losers among internet companies.

Both the House and the Senate voted this week to pass the resolution, sending it to Trump.

"If President Trump clicks his pen and signs this resolution, consumers will be stripped of critical privacy protections in a New York minute," Schumer said. "Signing this rollback into law would mean private data from our laptops, iPads, and even our cellphones would be fair game for internet companies to sell and make a fast buck."

The Trump-appointed chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a critic of the broadband privacy rules and has said he wants to roll them back. He and other Republicans want a different federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission, to police privacy for both broadband companies like AT&T and internet companies like Google, which do not have to ask users' permission before tracking what websites they visit.

Trump is expected to make his decision soon.

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User comments

Apr 02, 2017
If we want privacy we should speed millions of $$$ to set up a government site that handles our correspondence and information. Like the USPS does with our physical correspondence. Any site owned by non government establishments should have the right to do what they want with the information that passes thru their site.

Apr 02, 2017
Oh, good idea. So we should have complete government oversight of our every activity as a solution to complete corporate oversight (and sharing) of our every activity.

The point is that law-abiding people shouldn't have their every move tracked if they say that don't want it. The additional point is that, as long as people are paying for the service, who the hell says the service provider has the right to make additional profit by selling information on those paying consumers? Screw that maximize profits mentality. There is more to life than money, fools.

Apr 03, 2017
As usual, the hyperpartisan Schumer and the partisan liberal media live in a special reality where everything Democrats do is right and everything Republicans do is wrong.

The facts: Up until 3 months ago ISPs (internet service providers) we're subject to the same privacy rules as all other internet companies under FTC (federal trade commission) regulations, protecting sensitive information (social security number, health info, etc.). On January 3 the FCC (federal communications commission) instituted new rules requiring ISPs to treat internet browsing history the same as medical history or social security numbers.

"New York consumers" didn't have those "critical privacy protections" until 3 months ago and no one noticed the difference. Returning to the status quo will have no discernible effect, contrary to Schumer and the media's hysterical rants. Keeping the new rules would stifle innovation and lead to an expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Apr 03, 2017
For those unfamiliar with the Constitution and the way government is supposed to work and why the FCC issuing broad and restrictive rules is a bad idea...

Rules aka "laws" are supposed to be enacted by the legislature--our elected representatives--after debating and voting, to make sure the will of the people is followed. That's Article 1 of the Constitution. Agencies are created under the Executive branch (the President) to enforce those laws. That's Article 2 of the Constitution. Judges are appointed to make sure people who break the rules (the law) get a fair hearing and appropriate consequences if guilty. That's Article 3.

When agency bureaucrats, who are not elected and don't represent the people and don't answer to them, make rules that have the force of law (Article 1), have officials with power to enforce (Article 2) and no fair hearing (Article 3) the whole point of representative, accountable government is defeated. It's essentially no different than dictatorship.

Apr 03, 2017
I don't like my ISP using my browsing history in certain ways, like selling it to advertisers. However I like that by using my browsing history they can present advertising (which is never going away) that is more likely to appeal to me rather than random junk that annoys me much more than the tailor-made advertising I see now. I don't see any advantage to me from the FCC rule and I see at least a couple problems. Without advertising, a lot of services go away or become more expensive. Not ideal.

This is exactly why rules should be debated in Congress; to consider all sides of the issue and weigh the benefits and drawbacks and hear the voice of ALL the people in the form of our elected representatives.

Apr 03, 2017
Targetted advertising is not what you should be worried about (in any case you can totally eliminate advertising from your browsing experience with ad-blockers).

What you should be worried about is stuff like healthcare and insurance providers poring over your browser history and suddenly finding that you have been googling stuff for a particular illness (because you are interested in the subject? Because you have a friend who has it and you want to help him/her and give advice?)...and suddenly raising your premiums.

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