May 26, 2022

Bad News! “Senate Votes to Block Internet Privacy Regulations”

UPDATED April 3, 2017 President Signs S.J. Res 34


UPDATED March 28, 2017  The U.S. House of Representatives has just voted and passed S.J. Res 34 (Repeal of FCC Internet/Broadband Privacy Rules) by a Vote of 215-205.

You can review the vote (by party and/or name) here. The legislation now goes to the President for his signature.

Our comments from last week remain the same.This troubling event is an opportunity for the library community to become a clearinghouse of awareness, education, and knowledge about digital privacy to those we serve.

Reports and Statements

Statement: FCC Chairman Pai on Congressional Resolution Disapproving Privacy Regs

Statement: House Votes to Strip Privacy Protections from Broadband Users (via CDT)

Statement: Our Commitment to Consumer Privacy (via Comcast)

Statement: Taking Consumer Privacy Seriously (via The Internet & Television Association | NCTA)

Report: Congress Guts Internet Rule on Privacy, Giving Providers Right to Snoop for Data (via McClatchy DC Bureau)

Report: Broadband Rules Axed by Congress, Headed to Trump (via USA Today)

Report: US House votes to undo broadband privacy rules (via IDG News Service)

Congressional Record

Floor Debate and Vote
Part t (beginning on Page 2487)  ||| Part 2 ||| Part 3


Watch/Keyword Search the Floor Debate (via C-SPAN Video Library)

See Also: Five Ways Cybersecurity Will Suffer If Congress Repeals the FCC Privacy Rules (via Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Original Post

Bad news below! Yet another reason for all of us to contact Congress. Call your Rep!

As this new report from Pew Research shows, American’s know little about cybersecurity (aka they need help and knowledge).

Of course, as we’ve said MANY TIMES over MANY YEARS on infoDOCKET, informing/teaching/alerting the public about basic cybersecurity issues and tools (including digital privacy) could be and should be a role for the library community.

From The Hill:

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday in 50-48 party line vote that would dismantle a set of internet privacy rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year.


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.


In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday night, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who introduced the bill, said the FCC regulations were an example of a “bureaucratic power grab.”


Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Ed Markey (Mass.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.)railed against the measure on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, saying it would leave consumers vulnerable.

Read the Complete Article

From WaPo:

The agency’s rules are being debated as Internet providers — no longer satisfied with simply offering Web access — race to become online advertising giants as large as Google and Facebook. To deliver consumers from one website to another, Internet providers must see and understand which online destinations their customers wish to visit, whether that’s Netflix, WebMD or PornHub.

With that data, Internet providers would like to sell targeted advertising or even share that information with third-party marketers. But the FCC’s regulations place certain limits on the type of data Internet providers can share and under what circumstances. Under the rules, consumers may forbid their providers from sharing what the FCC deems “sensitive” information, such as app usage history and mobile location data.

Read the Complete Article

From Multichannel News:

Fifty Senators voted to erase broadband customers’ right to choose whether their internet service providers (ISPs) can sell their personal information, including every website they visit,” said Center for Democracy and Technology policy analyst Natasha Duarte. “The information ISPs have about their customers includes web browsing and video viewing habits, religious information, sexual preferences, health conditions, and location. These are some of the most intimate details about people’s lives, and customers should have control over how companies can use and share this information.”

“By passing the CRA resolution striking down the FCC’s October privacy surprise, the Senate took a first step toward restoring a balanced privacy framework across the Internet,” said High Tech Forum founder Richard Bennett. “Contrary to the claims some senators made immediately before the vote, ISPs do not have superior information about our browsing histories and app usage patterns.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Read/Track the Legislation (S.J. Res. 34)

See Also: Op/Ed: “Congress Is About To Give Away Your Online Privacy” (March 22, 2017; via Wired)


Congressional Record

Text of Floor Debate and Vote Begin on Page S1925 (page 87 of PDF)


on a positive related note, research from MIT…

At the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation next week, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Stanford University will present a new encryption system that disguises users’ database queries so that they reveal no private information.

The system is called Splinter because it splits a query up and distributes it across copies of the same database on multiple servers. The servers return results that make sense only when recombined according to a procedure that the user alone knows. As long as at least one of the servers can be trusted, it’s impossible for anyone other than the user to determine what query the servers executed.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (via MIT News)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.