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Trump Plans to Sign Repeal of Obama-Era Broadband Rules on Internet Privacy

April 3, 2017

President Donald Trump plans to sign a bill to repeal Obama-era broadband privacy rules.
Republicans in Congress revoked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) privacy rule against strong opposition from Democrats who regard the rule as essential for consumer privacy. Conservatives call the law duplicitous and unnecessary. Republicans and telecom industry groups argue that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not the FCC, traditionally protected consumer privacy.

The privacy bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the FCC under the Obama administration. The regulation required internet services providers (ISPs) to protect consumer data more stringently than content providers such as Google and Facebook. The FCC required internet providers to obtain consumer consent before using location data, financial information, health, information, and web history for advertising.

Breitbart News spoke with Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, about his organization’s opposition to the FCC’s broadband privacy rule. Kerpen told Breitbart News that the criticism against removing this regulation is unwarranted.

“This is a deliberate disinformation campaign from the usual suspects from the tech-left and the media, and they’re completely misrepresenting the issue, and the conservatives are falling for the fake news narrative,” he told Breitbart News. “Up until 2015, the FTC protected consumer privacy, and then the FCC Net Neutrality order eviscerated the consumer protections at the FTC by pre-empting FTC’s jurisdiction. The FCC then came around and hammered ISP’s with draconian regulations that do not apply to Google or Facebook.”

“This is especially concerning, considering they have considerably more access to your personal data than Comcast or Verizon,” Kerpen explained. “It’s insane that Google and Facebook have a near duopoly in the advertising game and they have less stringent rules in terms of what they can do with your private information.”
The president of the American Commitment said that Google is trying to rig the system against ISPs. “Google has this whole array of left-leaning groups defending their favorite regulations that put them in their favor,” he claimed. “If you recall Gigi Sohn, the counselor to former Chairman Tom Wheeler, resigned from the FCC and she’s now at the Open Society Institute, and she’s working with George Soros, and they’re pushing a lot of money to these narratives. There’s a reason that former Chairman Wheeler waited until the last possible minute to institute these regulations. They knew these were very easy headlines to write, such as ‘Republicans in Congress Undo Privacy Rules’ specifically to create this distortion campaign to make it harder to get rid of Net Neutrality.”

Kerpen added, “This whole fight against the ISPs is a sideshow, by far the biggest threat to consumer privacy is Google that has trackers on over 60 percent of all websites. Google owns YouTube, and they have trackers everywhere, and they’ve shifted the focus of the debate to issues that don’t regulate Google.”

Katie McAuliffe, executive director of Digital Liberty, told Breitbart News, “This is nothing more than another Obama-era regulation that needs to be removed.”

McAuliffe told Breitbart News that this broadband rule was another power grab by the Obama-era FCC. She said, “Obama’s FCC broadband rule was a power grab under the guise of privacy.”

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