Broadband Privacy Protections

These rules give consumers the tools they need to choose how their Internet Service Providers use and share their personal data.

This rule has been repealed.

H.J. Res. 86 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
S.J. Res. 34 is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Click here to take action.

OVERVIEW

These rules, put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from tracking the online behavior of customers without their permission and place obligations on ISPs to keep their customers’ data secure. The rules give customers more control over their personal data — including browsing history, app usage, precise location data and information related to finances, health, and children. ISPs can still use customer data for service-related uses, but they will not be able to use customer data to build and sell massive, detailed dossiers without seeking permission.

IMPACTS

The FCC, as mandated by Congress, has successfully overseen consumer privacy for the nation’s telephone network for decades and is now responsible for establishing privacy rules for the basic communications network of the 21st century. Before the Commission established these rules, there were no guidelines in place that define how ISPs have to secure their customer information and use and share their customers’ private information.

ISPs see a tremendous amount of their customers’ personal information, including every website they visit, when customers are online, and their location. Without these rules in place, ISPs could mine, analyze, and sell this rich consumer information to marketing companies and others, and customers have little to no recourse to prevent such invasive activity.

Most Americans have the option of only one or two broadband providers; simply choosing another ISP that doesn’t meet their privacy expectations is not an option. Given the essential need of communications and internet service, consumers must have a say in how their data is used. If these rules are repealed, consumers will have less control over their personal data, and there will be no obligation for ISPs to maintain reasonable data security practices. ISPs cannot be allowed to collect and use their customers’ sensitive information without asking them first.

OPPONENTS

ISPs, advertising associations, and other data brokers have filed Petitions for Reconsideration at the FCC asking the Commission to weaken the rules and, in some cases, rescind the rules completely. ISPs and advertising agencies would like to use and sell as much customer data as possible; therefore, they want rules that allow them to use web browsing history without asking their customers’ permission first. ISPs see their customers’ data as a source of revenue, and want access to that data to be the default, instead of giving customers control over their data.

24 Senators Introducing Bill to Kill FCC Internet Privacy Rules Received a Combined $2.29M From Industry PACs
The Sociable: March 21, 2017

TAKE ACTION

Click on any of the below actions to get in touch with your representatives in Congress and tell them to protect the broadband privacy rules! Each action page provides talking points to help you get started.

Tell Congress to Leave the FCC’s Broadband-Privacy Rules Alone!
This action is hosted by Free Press.

Tell Congress to Protect Broadband Privacy Protections for Consumers!
This action is hosted by Public Knowledge.

We Have 24 Hours to Save Online Privacy Rules
This action is hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Keep Online Privacy Intact
This action is hosted by the ACLU.

CONTACTS

Dallas Harris, Public Knowledge, dharris@publicknowledge.org, (202) 559-1053

Tim Karr, Free Press, tkarr@freepress.net, (413) 585-1533

Eric Null, Open Technology Institute at New America, null@opentechinstitute.org, (202) 596-3493

NEWS AND RESOURCES

States Push Their Own Internet Privacy Rules
Consumer Reports: April 20, 2017

Midterms Are Coming
Deseret News: April 19, 2017

Flake, Sensenbrenner Experience Early Pushback to Broadband Privacy Repeal
The Morning Consult: April 17, 2017

Influence Game: Telecom Lobbying Muscle Kills Privacy Rules
The Washington Post: April 17, 2017

LaMalfa’s Explanation on Privacy Doesn’t Hold Up
Chicoer: April 17, 2017

Line-By-Line, We Corrected the Record on Broadband Privacy and Net Neutrality
Public Knowledge: April 11, 2017

It Shouldn’t Be a Privilege to Use the Internet Safely
Truthout: April 11, 2017

The Internet Privacy Rule Is Dead, But Could Anyone Bring It Back?
Consumerist: April 10, 2017

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Legislation To Fully Restore Broadband Privacy Protections
KRWG: April 10, 2017

Internet Privacy Cut in Congress’ Continuing Partisan Politics
The Columbia Chronicle: April 10, 2017

Is Congress Encroaching on Americans’ Internet Privacy?
The Hill: April 9, 2017

Trump’s FCC and FTC Chairs Rush in to Defend Big Telco’s Assault on Internet Privacy
Free Press: April 7, 2017

Is There Still Hope for Internet Privacy in the US?
The Next Web: April 7, 2017

Senators Challenge Trump, Broadband Providers Over Privacy Rules
Vermont Biz: April 6, 2017

Personal Internet Browsing History in Danger with Deregulation
The Daily Evergreen: April 6, 2017

Dems Probe Internet Provider Privacy Policies After FCC Rules Repeal
Inside Sources: April 6, 2017

Spectrum Hearing Reveals Raw Wounds From Broadband Privacy Rule Rollback
Broadcasting & Cable: April 5, 2017

Consumers Need to Be Vigilant on Internet Privacy
The Iron Mountain Daily News: April 5, 2017

‘It Shouldn’t Be a Privilege to Use the Internet Safely’
Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting: April 5, 2017

Making a Buck on Our Internet Privacy
The Standard Journal: April 5, 2017

How President Trump and Congress Just Dismantled Your Online Privacy Rights
Public Knowledge: April 4, 2017

Be Warned: Your Internet Privacy Is Always Up for Sale
The Miami Student: April 4, 2017

Some Tips To Protect Internet Privacy
U.S. PIRG: April 4, 2017

GOP Giving Away Our Privacy
St. Louis Post Dispatch: April 2, 2017

The Commissioners of the FTC and FCC Are Worried About Your Online Privacy
The Los Angeles Times: March 31, 2017

Another Red Flag on the Internet Privacy Bill
Common Cause: March 31, 2017

Senate Dems to Trump: Veto Broadband Privacy Repeal
The Hill: March 30, 2017

GOP Faces Backlash Over Attack on Internet Privacy Rules
The Hill: March 30, 2017

The Scrapping Of Internet Privacy: Something We Can All Hate Together
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: March 29, 2017

Democrats Want to Make GOP Pay for Attacking Internet Rules
Politico: March 29, 2017

Republicans Attack Internet Privacy
The New York Times: March 29, 2017

Democrats Won Big on Health Care. But Republicans Are Still Doing Terrible Things.
The Washington Post: March 29, 2017

Congress Votes Against Consumers and Internet Privacy
U.S. PIRG: March 29, 2017

Big Telecom and Big Cable Score Another Big Win
Common Cause: March 29, 2017

House Republicans Vote to Let Your Internet Service Provider Share Your Web History
The Huffington Post: March 28, 2017

Rush to Resist as Congress Poised to Obliterate Broadband Privacy Rules
Common Dreams: March 27, 2017

Internet Privacy Bill Vote Coming in the House
CBS News: March 27, 2017

Cruz And Cornyn Co-Sponsored Bill That Allows Your Web Browsing History to be Sold Without Consent
Texas Monthly: March 27, 2017

Congress Votes on Selling Your Internet History Tomorrow
Nerdist: March 27, 2017

Don’t Repeal Common-Sense Privacy Rules
New America: March 27, 2017

House Votes Tuesday on Letting Your ISP Sell Your Browsing History to the Highest Bidder
Daily Kos: March 27, 2017

House Schedules Vote on Eliminating Consumer Online Privacy Rights Next Week
Electronic Frontier Foundation: March 24, 2017

Here Are the 50 GOP Senators Who Just Sacrificed Your #BroadbandPrivacy to Corporate Profits
Common Dreams: March 23, 2017

US Senate Votes to Let Internet Providers Share Your Web Browsing History Without Permission
The Verge: March 23, 2017

FCC and Broadband Privacy Rules: Senate Votes to Allow ISPs to Collect, Sell User Data
International Business Times: March 23, 2017

Republican Senators Just Sold Your Privacy to the Highest Bidder
The Next Web: March 23, 2017

Congress Just Voted to Kill Consumer Broadband Privacy Protections
Tech Dirt: March 23, 2017

Three Myths the Telecom Industry Is Using to Convince Congress to Repeal the FCC’s Privacy Rules, Busted
Truthout: March 23, 2017

Congress Could Soon Allow ISPs to Sell Your Browsing History Without Your Consent
The Next Web: March 23, 2017

Senators Should Protect Alaskans’ Privacy
Alaska Dispatch News: March 23, 2017

Internet Privacy Rules Could Be Killed by Senate Thursday With Congressional Review Act
International Business Times: March 22, 2017

Congress Is About To Give Away Your Online Privacy
Wired: March 22, 2017

The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole
Wired: March 22, 2017

The Ad Industry Is Really Excited About Plans to Gut Broadband Privacy Protections
Tech Dirt: March 22, 2017

24 Senators Introducing Bill to Kill FCC Internet Privacy Rules Received a Combined $2.29M From Industry PACs
The Sociable: March 21, 2017

The White House Is Paranoid Over Its Privacy, and Consumers Should Be Too
Public Knowledge: March 21, 2017

The FCC’s Privacy Rules Are on the Chopping Block
New America: March 20, 2017

FCC, FTC Are Playing a Shell Game With Online Privacy
The Hill: March 18, 2017

Will Sen. Collins Take a Stand Against Companies That Want to Sell Your Data?
The Portland Press Herald: March 18, 2017

How to Fight for Your Rights and Privacy Online
The Nation: March 17, 2017

Broadband Privacy Rules: Senate May Kill Consumer Privacy Rules For Good Next Week
International Business Times: March 17, 2017

Setting the Record Straight: What the Congressional Review Act Means for the FCC’s Broadband Privacy
Public Knowledge: March 16, 2017

Walden Should Oppose DirectTV and Comcast on Privacy Issue
The Bend Bulletin: March 14, 2017

Your Internet Provider Wants Congress to Take Away Your Privacy Protections
The Daily Dot: March 11, 2017

The FCC and Congress Are Messing With Your Privacy
Free Press: March 9, 2017

Congress Is Trying to Roll Back Internet Privacy Protections as You Read This
Electronic Frontier Foundation: March 7, 2017

Privacy Opponents Are Using a Sneaky Trick to Help ISPs Sell Your Data
Gizmodo: March 1, 2017

Democratic Sens. Call For Preserving FCC Privacy Rules
Multichannel News: February 28, 2017

Dem Senator Pushes Back Against GOP Efforts to Rescind Internet Privacy Rules
The Hill: February 27, 2017

Markey, Interest Groups Vow to Fight Rollback of Privacy Rules
Broadcasting & Cable: February 23, 2017

EFF: Congress Is Considering Making It Illegal to Protect Consumer Privacy Online
Network World: February 21, 2017

Senate Dem Blasts GOP for Trying to Repeal Broadband Privacy Rules
The Hill: February 16, 2017

New Rules Intended to Protect Your Online Privacy Are Already Under Threat
Slate: February 9, 2017

Privacy Coalition Files Anti-CRA Letter
Free Press: January 27, 2017

Fact Sheet on Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal
Federal Communications Commission: October 6, 2016

Broadband Privacy Issue Page
Public Knowledge