Republican lawmakers in Congress are seeking to end an Obama-era rule allowing internet service providers to collect your personal data without permission.
The rules were adopted in October 2016, and explicitly ban the collection of “sensitive” consumer information without permission from customers, including browser history and what apps users are downloading.
“It is the consumer’s information,” then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, said last fall. “It is not the information of the network the consumer hires to deliver the information.”
But the FCC rule can be overridden using a little-known Congressional procedure called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). That law allows Congress the ability to nullify agency regulations through joint resolutions of both houses, allowing the regulation to be lifted through simple majority votes. In other words, a filibuster in the Senate would be avoided through use of the CRA.
Republicans in Congress would have 60 legislative days to vote to end the FCC regulation under CRA rules, which would be sometime in May, according to reporting from the Hill.
Democrats have previously blasted proposals to eliminate the regulation. Sens. Ed Markey (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Al Franken (D-MN) wrote a joint letter to current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, strongly discouraging him and the commission from allowing the rules to be rescinded.
Chris Walker has been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.