These NJ Congressmen Voted to Allow Internet Companies To Sell Your Private Info
WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Jersey's five Republican congressman have voted in favor of a resolution that allows internet providers to sell your browsing habits without your permission.
The resolution overrides a rule that had been proposed by President Barack Obama that would have required providers to get your permission to share browsing habits and other personal information.
The measure, described by CNET as the strictest privacy rules ever put in place, also required providers to take measures to protect the data and to notify customers if data was stolen.
Supporters of the rules said the company that sells you your internet connection can see even more about you: every website you visit, every app that sends or receives data, everyone you email and many that you message. Telecom companies argue that companies like Google already see the same information but are unregulated.
U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., 7th District, was one of the New Jersey Republicans that voted in favor of the resolution. He and Democrat Frank Pallone, who voted against it, serve on the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee.
Pallone argued on the House floor that "this resolution tells the companies charged with running the country’s broadband networks that they no longer have to be reasonable when it comes to their customers’ data. And under this resolution, the FCC will be limited in how they can protect our data in the future."
The 6th district congressman also called the resolution "a gift to countries like Russia, who want to take our citizens’ personal information. And if the House passes this resolution, it will go straight to the president’s desk, a president who will be more than happy to sign his name to this gift to the Russians."
Lance argued on the House floor that the rules "unnecessarily targets service providers and does little to protect consumer privacy." He said that because the FCC, which regulates ISP differently than the FTC did, the rule creates a "false sense of privacy."
CNET said that the payment to providers for the information could help cut the cost to consumers.
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 along with other Obama-era policies meant to protect consumers and promote competition.
He and other Republicans want the FTC to police privacy for both broadband companies like AT&T and internet companies like Google. But broadband providers don't currently fall under FTC jurisdiction, and advocates say the FTC has historically been a weaker agency than the FCC.
President Trump is expected to sign the resolution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.