The US Senate [official website] voted 50-48 [vote record] Thursday to repeal [text, PDF; S.J.Res. 34] current privacy rules for Internet service providers (ISPs). In a vote meant to further deregulation goals, the Senate passed a resolution to undo privacy rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] during the Obama administration. The privacy rules, which had yet to go into effect, would require [NPR report] ISPs to inform consumers what information is being collected and how that information is being used or shared. Proponents for the repeal have argued that the rule would put ISPs at a disadvantage against other data-collecting companies like Google or Facebook, which are under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website]. The FTC’s privacy guidelines are viewed as less stringent and rely on investigation and enforcement rather than pre-emptive regulation. Those against the resolution state that removal of the internet privacy rules would prevent consumers from controlling how their most sensitive information is used. The resolution will next go before the House before ultimately being presented to the president.
Governments around the world have re-examined their data privacy laws in the wake of a myriad of data leaks, including the Edward Snowden [JURIST backgrounder] leaks. National governments around the world have attempted [JURIST op-ed] to gain control over data transferred within their borders. On Tuesday the US House approved [JURIST report] a measure that would updat US privacy laws in regards to e-mails and cloud storage. In October 2015 the European Court of Justice ruled [JURIST report] that EU user data transferred to the US was not sufficiently protected. In June 2015 a court in The Hague struck down [JURIST report] a Dutch law that allowed the government to retain telephone and Internet data of Dutch citizens for up to 12 months in an effort to combat terrorism and organized crime.