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U.S. Senate votes to strip away Americans' online privacy

Your service provider needs permission to sell your private information under current rules. But that might be changing if the House follows the Senate's lead on S.J Res 34.

Senate Joint Resolution 34 is congressional disapproval of the Federal Communications Commission rules relating to "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services". The U.S. Senate voted 50 - 48 today to pass this resolution under the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers 60 days to repeal a law before it's enacted.

A similar repeal vote from the House would roll back the requirement of broadband internet providers to get your permission before sharing personal information like your location, your web history and financial details with any third party. In addition, it would prevent the FCC from writing similar rules in the future.

Five Creepy Things Your ISP Could Do if Congress Repeals the FCC's Privacy Protections (EFF.org)

As predicted, the vote went along party lines with 50 Republicans voting Aye and 46 Democrats along with two Independents voting Nay on the resolution. Isakson (R-GA) and Paul (R-KY) abstained.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for debate and a vote.

The major talking points of the FCC rule adopted in December 2016 are considerations of user privacy. They read as follows:

  • Opt-in Approval. We adopt rules requiring carriers to obtain customers' opt-in approval for use and sharing of sensitive customer PI (and for material retroactive changes to carriers' privacy policies). A familiar example of opt-in practices appears when a mobile application asks for permission to use geolocation information.
  • Opt-out Approval. Balancing important governmental interests in protecting consumer privacy and the potential benefits that may result from the use of non-sensitive customer PI, we adopt rules requiring carriers to obtain customers' opt-out approval for the use and sharing of non-sensitive customer PI.

Other sections of the rule require broadband providers to notify subscribers in the event of a data breach and serve to establish a baseline of what data is private and how it needs to be handled. The Senate voted to strip the rule in its entirety.

If you disagree with this decision and want to talk to your representative about the situation, you'll find their contact details right here.

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

131 Comments
  • Great.
  • In before, "both parties are the same!"
  • If by the same you mean crooks, then yes.
  • Republicans looking out for Corporations over people since 1980
  • Scroll to the very bottom of every page on AndroidCentral
    and you'll find the words "500M Consumers Reached Yearly" AndroidCentral/Mobile Nations doesn't sell the data collected
    when the said 500,000,000 consumers read, click, post online,
    or their locations?
  • This is about an ISP selling information not individual web pages
  • Your ISP has been selling your information for years and years. Have you ever glanced in the advanced settings on your modem/router and seen the companies that your ip address and info has been sold to? Learn these words. Backdoor advertising.
  • I love how you guys will defend anything this Administration does please read a history book every once in awhile
  • Sorry, but it doesn't take a history book to know that your ISP has been selling your information since the internet first came of existance. Sears will probably be sending you their liquidation savings catalog in the next couple of weeks.
  • Not to get too technical, but actually a history book, or some sort of logging of historical data is exactly what you need to prove that ISP's have been selling your data "since the beginning of the internet". That's what, 35+ years, generally speaking?
  • When the internet was first created, it was non-commercial. Oh, are you referring to Al Gore inventing the modern internet? That was the start of the commercializing.
  • I love how you guys will always stay ignorant, and then complain about "the other guy"... Stay Ignorant
  • So we should make it even easier?
  • Well...... It's never been that hard to do in the first place. Your ISP granted them access the second you got that IP address.
  • Can you blame the ISP's that much anyway, I less you have a way to get on the internet without one. This is why the old FCC was beginning to turn ISPs into a utility, that would have enabled more privacy for the people. Encryption is your best way to protect your data, even then you can't get all of it.
  • So is your argument that since they've been doing this "for years and years", it's ok if they keep doing it? (Also, what does the advanced settings on a modem or router have anything to do with it?)
  • Do you want your prices to go up? The company makes revenue off your data. If they can't do that, they will raise prices elsewhere to compensate for their shareholders. Are you prepared to pay more for the same service knowing that there really has never been much privacy on the Internet in the first place. You think one over-simplified order was going to change all that?
  • Actually, advanced settings are the technical data fir your connection settings and there are so many free apps available to let almost anybody know where you are, not to mention the type of hardware you are using, who its made by, etc. I use one for my cell and one for my laptop to see details of who is connected to the internet around me. But, of more importance is that there IS another way to get on the internet, but it involves voting to get your city to offer free wifi. It is unsecure, but you can protect it on your hardware's end. I live in a city that broadcasts wifi for free. Outside signal is available everywhere; inside signal is weaker so you use a long distance wifi antenna to boost the signal. It works great, for internet access. Still need service provider for tv premium though!
  • What in the world? Technical connection information is much less interesting than browsing habits. Very little people care about the manufacturer of your modem or signal information (which only your ISP can see anyway). Connecting to open public wifi opens you up to the same problems as an ISP, but to any random script kiddy sniffing unencrypted traffic (which is what your ISP would/could/will be doing).
  • both parties were in corporate services since the 60-70s
    "What happened to Kansas" and "Listen Liberal" are 2 great books , which simply uncover the sad truth and reality of US politics. I said "uncover" because to many people it wasn't readily available, but it is in fact part of the public record - not a "conspiracy theory".
    We gotta get the money out of politics ASAP !
    wolf-pac.com
    whether you have liberal , libertarian or conservative values or just somewhere in-between, we can't have a proper discourse under these corrupt terms.
    we are overdue for Constitutional Amendments !
  • The Republicans are the only ones to look out for people. Damn Democrats wanna control your every move
  • Nope. Almost all politicians just care about themselves and getting re-elected. They honestly do not care about you unless you donated a lot of money to their coffers. In other words, they love corporations and really rich people.
  • That's exactly why Trump was elected ... he clearly isn't in it for the money and can't be bought. This has a liberal stench all over it.
  • Except that every liberal voted against it and every conservative voted for it. Welcome to Trumps America,where the hair spry flows freely and the lies come faster.
  • Trump is a business man. If it didn't make him money then there is no deal. Don't be blind.
  • Refusing the presidential salary doesn't make Trump money.
  • Bernie Sanders.
  • oh I wish.
  • No communists
  • Agreed. Democratic socialists on the other hand. You know, like FDR and Eisenhower.
  • "The goal of socialism is communism." - Vladimir Lenin
  • It's a good thing that Sanders isn't a MARXIST Socialist eh
  • If Republicans are looking out for people, then I am pretty good at being invisible. I am still waiting for any Republican to do something on my behalf this century.
  • 'I see in the near future a crisis approaching that un-nerves me and cause me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow..' ----Abraham Lincoln
  • this
  • Don't tell the president. He likes to bring that up a lot. I don't know how he would handle knowing just how little the Presidents that he idolizes would agree with him
  • Cool beans,thanks dicks.
  • Scroll to the very bottom of every page on AndroidCentral
    and you'll find the words "500M Consumers Reached Yearly" AndroidCentral/Mobile Nations doesn't sell the data collected
    when the said 500,000,000 consumers read, click, post online,
    or their locations?
  • Mobile Nations is an Internet Service Provider?
  • Apparently some ppl can't see the distinction.
  • Disclosure of Information. We may, in our sole discretion, share with third parties information that is not associated with your name or identity, such as website usage information, non-personally identifiable demographic information, and aggregate user statistics. In addition, we may share Personal Information with third parties as described in this Privacy Statement or at the time you provide the information, with your consent, or in the following circumstances: Sites Providers: We may share your Personal Information with third party service providers so that they may perform certain services for us, such as website hosting, delivery of Mobile Nations promotional materials and product offers, or performing other services on our behalf. Business Transfers: Mobile Nations may share Personal Information with its subsidiaries and affiliates for internal business purposes. Mobile Nations also reserves the right to disclose and/or transfer all information collected, whether through or in connection with the Sites or otherwise, including Personal Information, to third parties in the event of a proposed or actual purchase, sale (including a liquidation, realization, foreclosure or repossession), lease, merger, amalgamation or any other type of acquisition, disposal, transfer, conveyance or financing of all or any portion of Mobile Nations or of any of the business or assets or shares of Mobile Nations or a subsidiary or division thereof in order for you to continue to receive the same products and services from the third party. Legal and Safety Obligations: To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, we may also transfer and disclose user information, including Personal Information: (i) in the event we are required to respond to subpoenas or other legal process or if in our good faith opinion such disclosure is required or permitted by law; (ii) at the request of governmental authorities conducting an investigation; (iii) to protect and/or defend Mobile Nations or enforce other policies applicable to the Sites; or (iv) to protect the personal safety, life, health, rights, property or security of any individual. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, we may also use IP addresses, mobile device identifiers or any other information we collect to identify users, and may do so in cooperation with copyright owners, Internet service providers, wireless service providers or law enforcement agencies in our discretion. Such disclosures may be carried out without notice to you. This is also linked directly at the bottom of every page. Feel free to provide any evidence that we sell any of your data.
  • Here we go again. Did people really they had privacy online prior to this ruling?? Your privacy online was given up the second you decide to click that magical button that connect you to the source.
  • STAY. OUT. OF. POLITICS!
  • NOT IF IT DIRECTLY HAS AN EFFECT ON EVERY SINGLE USER OF THE INTERNET IN THIS COUNTRY THAT INCLUDES ME AND YOU WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! Everything is political darling, and this itself directly has an impact on every Internet user in the United States. So much for the 14th Amendment and implied privacy.
  • Yeah because privacy works so well from legal standpoint these days.
  • And notably the new administration doesn't help.
  • Android Central reports on Telecommunications, this is part of their coverage
  • Speak for yourself I like being informed then ignorant! No one is making you read this.
  • Typical Trump supporter. Doesn't​ like hearing the facts.
  • First the potential stripping of healthcare from millions of Americans, and now stripping away their Internet privacy. How wonderful! And to top it off, with new bills being introduced that also call for the stripping of the EPA and the Department of Education, this country is sure leading the way towards a futuristic utopia.
  • apparently some ppl can't see the distinction.
  • The Health Care thing isn't about Health Care, it's about Lowering Taxes for the Wealthy to a tune of $200,000 each
  • Wrong. It is about allowing companies to compete for your business. Competition is gone now under Obamacare. More insurance companies are leaving the system. This new plan is supposed to (I say that, because I don't think it is great, though better than we have now) bring more insurance companies back and allow people to choose a provider they actually want. So, they will dis-enroll from Obamacare (reported as losing coverage in the news) and re-enroll in a new plan their companies set up for them or on their own.
  • Stiv X you have exposed your lack of intelligence.
  • we all know who majority of the congressmen work for - follow the money !!! sadly,they still get paid by us as well and get all the benefits. If nothing, their corruption is more transparent day by day. From budget priorities to health care , etc. their votes show whose interest they represent. At least we get to see better than ever , that the representative democracy is dead. We need money out of politics - written in Constitutional Amendment!
  • How does ISP's ask those permissions​ though? Last I checked, I haven't received any
  • It's likely buried in a contract or EULA.
  • Ok thanks
  • So are they putting opt in and opt out safeguards? Is that what your article is saying are their main points? So by default they have creepy access but there's a way out? Also, assuming this goes through, what are our best options? Vpn on phone and pc? Tor?
  • Opt in and opt rules were put in place December 2, 2016. Today the Senate voted to nullify those rules along straight party lines. The EFF has been following the lobby money and I would expect a complete breakdown of the money all 100 senators received from internet service providers in exchange for special favors. THIS IS THE BEST CONGRESS MONEY CAN BUY.
  • amen
  • So is there a way to safeguard yourself?
  • VPN
  • That traffic is still carried over an ISP. And where would the VPN reside?
  • Exactly, the ISP still has your IP address and the IP address of the VPN. But at least everything done on the other side of that IP address is hidden.
  • Move to a country that respects privacy
  • I guess this is what being "Great Again" looks like.
  • Yesssssssss!!!
    Seriously! Like Murica' was ever great in the first place. We had a long way to go and now we're just going backwards... Shame-effing-ful
  • Use a VPN and hide your information
  • So, you can hide your phone number, location data, meta data, financial data, call history, etc. collected by your phone provider with a VPN? Better to keep quiet and thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt!
  • It is pretty obvious that many of the commentators have no clue what they're talking about. Yes, your ISP, your cable provider or whoever sells you some Internet service did sell your private information BEFORE the morons in Congress decided to get rid of consumer protection and privacy. That is, and it even hints at this in Jerry's piece, because the protective law, written in the Obama administration, has not yet gone into effect. That's what makes it so easy to get rid of it again. Once it would have been enacted your ISP had to ask you specifically for your consent to sell your info. Maybe you tards should educate yourselves before glorifying everything the moron administration right now in power comes up with!
  • Congress is a separate branch of government, NOT the administration.
  • I don't believe of these analyses that you read on most of these bills, especially from a site like AC. There's always more to these bills; all kinds of stuff buried in there that they have to consider when voting. The headline summary doesn't tell the full story. Like, "Republicans vote against background checks." Give me break. Not the correct conclusion, unless you have a certain agenda.
  • Please feel free to provide some evidence that disproves the article.
  • I don't plan to. Neither you nor I probably have time to read the bill, but historical precedence allows me to presume that the talking points in an article can be shifted any way, and you're not getting the full story.
  • I've got plenty of time, I ha EA a 30 minute ferry commute every day of free time one way. Haven't found what you're claiming here.
  • How about I post the full text of the resolution (which I clearly linked to in the article). Placed on Calendar Senate (03/15/2017) Calendar No. 16 115th CONGRESS 1st Session S. J. RES. 34 IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES March 7, 2017 Mr. Flake (for himself, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Boozman, Mrs. Capito, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Cruz, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Heller, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Lee, Mr. Paul, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Thune, Mr. Wicker, Mr. Moran, and Mr. McConnell) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation March 15, 2017 Committee discharged, by petition, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 802(c), and placed on the calendar JOINT RESOLUTION Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect. Sounds pretty cut and dry to me. Even lists the 24 people directly responsible for asking the rest of the senate to take away privacy protections.
  • Yes, but what about the bill they were repealing? They were stopping something from going into effect for a reason, and it wouldn't just be you "strip away privacy"
  • Interesting that Mr. Paul endorsed it but abstained from voting for it.
  • Uh, the bill was linked in the article. I hate the "Read Only The Headline and Post Knee-Jerk Reactions to the Headline" generation.
  • Uhhhh, yea I'm sure you hate all kinds of stuff. I read the whole article, you idiot. The headline is the first part that is misleading. Nobody is focusing on the original bill and reasons why it would be stopped from going into effect. Nothing changes
  • Yes, please show us proof from within the bill itself that this DOESN'T negatively affect our privacy.
  • For starters, the headline itself is inaccurate. It hadn't gone into effect yet, so how could it be "stripped away?"
  • The headline is that the Senate voted to strip away privacy, not that it is currently being stripped away. A vote did take place, and it did pass, so the headline is accurate.
  • Nothing changed from this vote. You just continue to opt out. If nothing changes, then nothing was stripped away.
  • The vote was to strip it away by stopping the protective legislation. How is this a hard thing to understand?
  • It went into effect January 3 for the data breach reporting requirements and March 2 for the notification requirements before data is sold. This is also in one of the links provided.
  • From a different source: "The Senate passed a resolution Thursday in a 50-48 party line vote that would dismantle a set of internet privacy rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year. The rules, which the FCC passed in a party-line vote in October, require internet service providers such as AT&T and Verizon to obtain customers’ permission before using their personal information for advertising purposes. If passed by the House and signed by President Trump, the bill would use an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate the rules before they go into effect. The CRA would also prevent the FCC from passing “substantially similar” regulations in the future, though no court has ruled on what agencies can pass under those standards.
    Critics of the privacy regulations say they are too onerous, and subject service providers to stricter regulations than websites such as Facebook and Google, which also collect consumer data."
  • Is this a joke? You realize they force you to give them permission just to internet access right?
  • Calm down, buddy, life will go on. I didn't write it.
  • My source is the Federal Register. It's really easy to click the link and read it
  • Point is, the bulk of it never went into effect, and that talking points in articles can be shifted anyway the typist wants. Tell me you're not a lib.
  • That's literally not the point here. Like at all. And if by "lib" you mean I have a strong grasp on core concepts like critical thinking and reading, sure.... I'm a "lib".
  • The opt in and opt out rules went into effect March 2. That is the point of this entire article. We can bicker about the importance of the parts that hadn't been enacted yet (and they are important, we need to know what is considered private information yet needs to be public knowledge) but this is about your ISP selling your browser history and account financial data to anyone with the money to buy it.
  • I think I was thinking along the same lines as you here. It would just seem too stupid for words for them to vote to take away something that seems so logical to keep (not that there isn't precedent for that from both sides of the aisle). There has been plenty of times when ridiculous junk has been added to bills just because it would be more likely to pass when part of a popular idea as opposed to being introduced on its own merits. I'm assuming that is what you were getting at here. It would be interesting for those who vote 'no' on something to have to come out and say why. At least then, people would have more facts before they react.
  • Thank god im from europe..
  • Lol, we are monitoring your data too, don't be to comfortable.
  • Than again, many European countries like the UK specifically, have full blown 1984 censorship and Internet surveillance.
  • Not to forget, they spied on Trump! They denied it but in his parallel universe he lives in they did! 😂
  • Hahahaha!!! Parallel universe!!!😂😂😂 Accurate AF!
  • Does the senate realize it affects them just as much as the American people too. If they finally get it, they just might change their minds about removing it.
  • Fine let them sell my info if they are irresponsible with my information and I suffer from identity theft I'm rich beyotch!
    There isn't enough dive space to hide my pron watching. I'm married a long time now so sue me. :) Oh and my isp is Google Fiber, so even if I move to IOS I'm screwed anyway.
  • Well, "Party before People" is the republican slogan isn't it?
  • That same mentality was in full effect regarding Clinton and the Democrats and that same mentality endangers Americans more than it helps us.
  • Welcome back 'PoliticCentral'...
  • This affects about 90% more people than news about Android O.
  • +100
  • Light em up! These guys don't even know! Keep up the good work Jerry. I guarantee, most AC readers love your articles!!!
  • Not necessarily. You can't strip away something you never had. You can only deny one from getting it. Look. No one has had to give permission for their data to be sold yet. So, repealing this now prevents that from ever happening. Therefore, no new impact. So, it will remain business as usual, i.e., status quo. If the FCC was serious about this, they would have made the changes long before a new administration can into office. I am surprised that so many Google product users don't realize that Google is the biggest offender to private data selling. They are the pinnacle of advertising profits for a reason. Seems hypocritical to me to be outraged and still promote Google. This is selective outrage. You might not like it, but it has been this way since the ISP was invented. You can advocate to change, but the Google Overlord will oppose as they don't want to lose profits. Any support they or any of the other ISP overlords might feign to give would not be genuine. Let's just be honest here. I might not like this either, but I don't think it is all about politics. It is about a business practice that has been in place from the beginning of the public Internet continuing to be a cash cow or the restriction forcing business to raise prices elsewhere to make up for the loss of income to please shareholders. If you don't speak business language, you'll never understand. Those of us who translate repeatedly get talked down to as if we are the ones who don't understand or are ignorant when it is the contrary that is true.
  • "I don't think it is all about politics"
    Looking at the majority of the comments, it appears as though people are starving for that "gotcha" moment with the opposing political party. Partisan politics at its finest. If people read the statement from the guy who proposed this legislation, then maybe people would see your point of view. But you said let's just be honest. And the honest answer is 99% of the idiots on here will never listen to an opposing view or side in their life. They will happily get their political #takes from an Android site and go on living in the fantasy world that no one is allowed to hurt their feelings and republicans are evil rich white guys, all the while completely oblivious to what is actually going on in the world. Sad state of affairs. It would take two minutes to listen to what the proposing senator had to say and you would never walk away with the headline of this article. You may disagree with the senator's solution, but you would be committing intellectual suicide to equate the senators own words with the title Jerry put on this article.
  • You say repubs are morons. They say liberals are morons. I say you're​ all morons and I can prove it mathematically.
    It's called thinking for yourself...
  • "I am surprised that so many Google product users don't realize that Google is the biggest offender to private data selling" What? Now I know you're either trolling or haven't a clue. Google has never sold one byte of user data and never will. It would kill their entire business model.
  • Your article sucks and is flat out liberal hysteria, but that comment is funny.
  • Please direct me to your article so I can better understand the minutiae from a true professional.
  • 🇺🇸 always get the president they deserve. Facts
  • You know, this begs the question. Does privacy even exist online?
  • To be bluntly honest...Not really. Every ISP collects your data and shares it with others for one reason or another. The FCC tried to make it so the individual had to approve of this sharing. What was failed to be properly addressed was the fact that your data was still being collected, stored, and analyzed by an ISP. All it really said was they can't profit off it. But the businesses are too smart for that. They would have simply tied your service to your authorization. Or they would have provided you restricted service. Or, they would make up for any lost profit (and it is a lot) by raising their prices elsewhere to please their shareholders. In the end your data is still known, held, and shared by your ISP. That would not have changed.
  • Yeah because spying on everybody makes us so much safer.
  • Is this going to make my internet cheaper at least?
  • Probably more expensive.
  • It would have become more expensive if this wasn't overturned. The companies could have lots of profits from the restriction of data sharing. This is done often by Amazon and Google with targeted advertising. So, they would have raise prices elsewhere to make up for it. Now, that won't happen.
  • Riiiiiight.. Because they don't already raise rates for no reason except for increased profits.. Just because they're adding another revenue stream from selling our info, doesn't mean that they won't still milk us for everything they can.
  • "To protect our freedoms, it seems we're going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time.".. Neil Young..
  • As if I could not find in my heart to hate Republicans more than I already do.
  • I expected nothing less from the Trump Administration. Republicans always put profits over consumers 100% of the time.
  • whatever, I have nothing to hide, they can look at all the porn I look at all they want lol
  • I think that ProtonMail will be getting more subscribers soon, especially with the VPN beta
  • The FCC’s new regulation conflicts with Federal Trade Commission rules and doesn’t do anything new to protect consumer privacy. so either way it wont make a difference.
  • The epitome of fake news. The guy who proposed the bill said "The FCC's midnight regulation does nothing to protect consumer privacy. It is unnecessary, confusing and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the Internet...My resolution is the first step toward restoring the FTC's light-touch, consumer-friendly approach. It will not change or lessen existing consumer privacy protections. It empowers consumers to make informed choices on IF and how their data can be shared....It is the consumer's information. How it is used should be the consumer's choice, not the choice of some corporate algorithm." That is hardly worthy of the "OMG repub's hate me and are evil rich white guys who have never used the internet before and now they want to sell my info. OMG vote democrat in midterms OMG [insert emojis] #imwithher #notmypresident" hysteria going on here. It's almost comical but it's still just sad how people don't even bother to listen to what is actually being said. The title of this fake news article could not be more in contrast to the actual opinions of the people leading this charge. Way to fail.
  • Hard to call it fake news considering it isn't really news at all, though. It is an opinion article of this website. They have the opinion this is bad. They don't speak business, though. So, they really have no idea what they are talking about.
  • So you've bought into their pro corporate propaganda, don't conflate your choice to do so with this not being news....ffs