FCC’s Internet Privacy Rules Overturned

April 4, 2017

By: Eric P. Bergner and Alexandra M. Vaccaro

On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed joint resolution S.J. Res. 34 nullifying the Federal Communication Commission’s recently passed rules relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)). 

The FCC’s privacy rules were intended to heighten data privacy requirements for the collection and use of customer proprietary information and give consumers increased transparency and choice regarding the collection of their data.  Specifically, the rules created a sensitivity-based customer choice framework which would have required providers of broadband internet access services (“BIAS”) to obtain affirmative opt-in consent before using or sharing sensitive customer proprietary information. 

After a 50-48 vote by the Senate on March 23, 2017 and a 215-205 vote by the House of Representatives on March 28, 2017, the joint resolution was presented to the President for his signature.  As of April 3, 2017 the FCC’s rules for protecting the privacy of customers of broadband and other telecommunications services will no longer have any force or effect.

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