Katko and Tenney defend vote to remove internet history protection

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - You already see customized advertisements on your Facebook page, based on website you've visited recently. Soon, you might see advertisements based on your exact location.

It's a worry stemming from Congress blocking an Obama-era regulation that prevented companies like Verizon and AT&T from selling data taken from your smartphone. 

Google and Facebook are allowed to, but the rule would have stopped Internet Service Providers from doing the same thing. Now, all companies have an even playing field.

Both of Central New York's representatives, Republican John Katko and Claudia Tenney, voted in favor of the law, which hadn't taken effect yet.

Katko's office tells NewsChannel 9: "The measure before the House yesterday rolled back an Obama-era regulation that allowed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose data restrictions on Internet Service Providers.  Rep. Katko voted in favor of this measure because these regulations are duplicative of efforts already in place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   Rep. Katko supports uniform standards between these two agencies to protect consumers with a consistent set of privacy protections."

Tenney's office tells NewsChannel 9: 

"I voted “Yes” on S.J.Res. 34, which disapproves of a recent FCC regulation related to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

S.J.Res.34 formally disapproves of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent ISP Privacy Rule, which was issued in December 2016. This rule would require ISPs such as Verizon, Frontier, or Time Warner to obtain opt-ins from customers before sharing their personal information.

I believe strongly in the need for privacy protections and support the underlying aim of the FCC’s rule in this regard. However, I have concerns that the rule promotes conflicting and inconsistent oversight standards. For example, the rule only covers ISPs and does not apply to websites such as Google and Facebook that rely heavily on the collection of personal information but that are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). With a lack of coordination between the FCC and FTC, there is now a conflicting set of privacy standards and consumers are left unaware of the fact that websites continue to collect and share their private data. Moreover, ISPs have been placed at a disadvantage since they are subject to significantly different privacy standards than websites for no other reason than Congress has yet to clarify the authorities of the FTC and FCC.  

Rather than relying on oversight structures that were established in the early 1900s to address today’s internet privacy issues, Congress must develop a set of consistent and uniform standards to govern and oversee online privacy – the American people deserve as much. The FCC’s rule misses this mark and its ad hoc regulations create confusion and unfair standards across the internet. Congress must act to improve privacy through an open process that establishes strong, clear, and legally unambiguous protections for consumers. As your representative in Congress, this remains my priority.
This bill was agreed to by a vote of 215-205."


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