Broadband Privacy Protections

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

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 If these rules are repealed, consumers will have less control over their personal data, and there will be no obligation for ISPs to maintain reasonable data security practices.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.

Don’t Let Congress Undermine Our Online Privacy
This action is hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Please contact the following senators about this rule:

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake – (202) 224-4521, @JeffFlake

U.S. Sen. John Thune – (202) 224-2321, @SenJohnThune

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski – (202) 224-6665, @lisamurkowski

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523, @SenatorCollins

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse – (202) 224-4224, @SenSasse

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner – (202) 224-5941, @SenCoryGardner

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul – (202) 224-4343, @RandPaul

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell – (202) 224-2541, @SenateMajLdr

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran – (202) 224-6521, @JerryMoran

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman – (202) 224-3353, @SenRobPortman

U.S. Sen. John McCain – (202) 224-2235, @SenJohnMccain

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill – (202) 224-6154, @clairecmc

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds – (202) 224-5842, @SenatorRounds

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

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