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The rule included transparency requirements that instruct ISPs to provide customers with “clear, conspicuous and persistent notice” about the information collected, how it is used, and with whom it is shared. In introducing legislation to repeal the FCC rule, Sen.Additionally, the rule outlined steps that ISPs could take to protect consumer privacy and required ISPs to take “reasonable” steps to protect sensitive customer data. Flake asserted that the rule would impose data restrictions on ISPs that could hurt both consumers and Internet innovation.The rule by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was enacted under the Obama Administration and required broadband ISPs to protect customers’ sensitive browsing data. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to repeal the FCC rule, expressing the Senate’s view that the rule should be given “no force or effect.” The Senate passed the measure in a 50-48 vote along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats opposed. The House and Senate voted to repeal the rule using their authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to repeal certain regulations if a joint resolution is passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President.
But when the FCC reclassified broadband ISPs as “common carriers” in February 2015—a move that allocated greater authority over ISPs to the FCC—it “unilaterally stripped” the FTC of its ability to regulate ISP treatment of consumer data privacy. Flake, the FCC’s creation of a new privacy standard represents “a dangerous deviation” from the FTC’s previous regulatory practices and creates a confusing two-track system where the FCC applies its own rules to ISPs while the FTC monitors the rest of the Internet.
Schatz asserted that “allowing ISPs to operate in a rule-free zone without any government oversight is reckless.”Eric Null, Policy Counsel at the Open Technology Institute, similarly argued that repealing the FCC rule allows for greater intrusion into sensitive customer data, precisely because it relies on the FTC’s privacy standards.
Reportedly describing the FTC regime as a weaker and broader “lowest common denominator” approach, Null explained that the reach of the FTC’s regulation would depend on the extent to which an ISP is acting deceptively—that is, whether the ISP is informing its customers of its practices.
Disrupting traffic has long been a way for protesters to call attention to a cause.
But when the cause itself is speed—in this case, Internet speed—the move takes on an extra level of defiance.