The House voted Tuesday to kill landmark privacy restrictions for Internet service providers and sent the bill to the White House, which indicated
The measure, approved largely along party lines, repeals tough new
The data include health information, website browsing history, app usage and the geographic information from mobile devices. The rules also tighten data security requirements.
“These broadband privacy rules are unnecessary and are just another example of big government overreach,” said Rep.
But supporters of the new regulations, including
Broadband companies serve as gatekeepers for Internet access and the data they collect should receive greater protections, backers of the rules said.
“Broadband providers are in the unique position of seeing everything we do on the Internet,” said Rep.
Trump’s election, along with Republican majorities in the House and
House approval, by a 215-205 vote, came after the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly voted last week for the repeal measure.
The White House said Tuesday that the Trump administration "strongly supports" the repeal. The president's advisors would recommend he sign the bill, the White House said in a formal statement of administration policy.
The rules had been approved in October by the Federal Communications Commission on a 3-2 party line vote when it was controlled by Democrats under the Obama administration.
Under the regulations, cable and wireless companies that offer broadband service would need customer approval to share all but nonsensitive data. Consumers would have to opt out of the sharing of that information.
Nonsensitive information is defined narrowly — most customer data would be considered sensitive under the FCC's definitions.
Before the FCC gained privacy authority over broadband providers last year as part of its net neutrality rules, those companies did not have to get permission to use or share any data.
The FCC’s definition of sensitive data is broader than that of the
Republicans and broadband companies prefer that the FTC oversee online privacy. The agency generally has less authority than the FCC.
Broadband providers said regulators should provide a level playing field with equal treatment for all companies that have access to consumers' online data.
"I think there's a lot of misinformation out there that somehow (Internet service providers) use online information differently from other companies in the Internet ecosystem or even have the ability to see information that others do not," said Howard Waltzman, general counsel for the 21st Century Privacy Coalition. The group represents large telecommunications companies.
After Republicans took over the FCC's majority with Trump's inauguration, the agency voted 2 to 1 along party lines this month to halt the first of the new privacy regulations that were scheduled to go into effect the next day. That provision dealt with new data security requirements.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted against the rules in October, said the delay would give the agency time to consider formal requests from trade groups representing Internet service providers to reconsider the regulations.
The FCC probably would overturn the rules after such a reconsideration. But the congressional measure would invalidate the rules immediately while also preventing the FCC from issuing privacy regulations in the future that are "substantially the same."