March 30, 2017

Senate Democrats to President Trump: Veto Misguided Resolution That Eliminates Privacy Rules Designed to Protect Americans’ Most Sensitive Personal Information Stored on Computers or Phones – Such As Social Security Numbers, Browser History, And Precise G

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen joined Senate Democrats today to release a new letter to President Trump urging him to veto a resolution - passed by both the House and the Senate this week - that would undo consumer privacy rules enacted by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) designed to prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from selling or sharing the sensitive personal data of their customers without first obtaining consent. The letter -- signed by 46 Senate Democrats -- notes that, if the resolution is signed into law, a consumer's most sensitive personal data stored on personal computers and cell phones such as browser history, one's Social Security Number, email contents, precise geo-location and more, could be sold to the highest bidder without their consent or knowledge.

The full text of the new letter from Senate Democrats can be found below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to urge a swift veto of S.J.Res. 34, a resolution that would rescind the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband privacy rules. This legislation will seriously undermine the privacy protections of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that their private information should be just that - private - and not for sale without their knowledge.

The rules that this legislation would undo were enacted by the FCC in order to prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from selling or sharing the sensitive personal data of their customers without first obtaining consent. The data protected under the rule includes information such as one's social security number, email contents, web browsing history, precise geo-location, application usage, data about consumer's health and finances, and even data about theirchildren. In deeming this sort of information as sensitive, and requiring explicit opt-in consent before it can be shared, the FCC sent a clear message that the choice should be in the hands of consumers - not the broadband providers.

The FCC's rules were finalized following a lengthy and transparent rulemaking process where members of the public were able to review the rules and submitted more than 250,000 comments, letters, and filings. S.J.Res. 34, which the Republicans hastily pushed through in the past few days, will not only undo this transparent process, it will prevent the FCC from ever reinstating similar consumer privacy protections in the future. As a result, broadband providers have free rein to share user data without first receiving consent or even notifying consumers.

Reversing these landmark privacy protections would be the antithesis of a pro-consumer Administration. Accordingly, we respectfully urge you to veto S.J.Res. 34 and make sure that the broadband privacy protections stay intact. Consumers deserve the right to make their own decisions about access, use, and sale of their personal, sensitive internet data by their broadband provider.