Grothman Explains Internet Privacy Vote

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Washington, April 12, 2017 | comments

Over the last two days, I held seven town hall meetings across the Sixth District. After talking to folks about their issues of concern, there seems to be widespread misinformation about a vote Congress took last month on Internet privacy.

Congress voted last month to prevent overreaching rules from taking effect and creating a disjointed and unclear privacy regime on the Internet. The way the rules were structured meant you had different levels of protection depending on what you were doing online—and most consumers say they prefer one simple and consistent set of rules.

Nothing has changed about the way your privacy is protected- it is the same as it was a year ago and a month ago and the day before the vote. The only time your privacy changed was when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chose to make the Internet into a utility style common carrier two years ago, stripping the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who traditionally has overseen privacy in technology, of the ability to protect you.

While our vote prevented these specific rules from taking effect, they do not prevent the FCC from enforcing robust privacy protections under existing authority.

Your Internet service provider (ISP) couldn’t, and still cannot, sell your sensitive data—this is regulated by several different laws, including the FTC’s existing privacy law—which remains in effect.

You also still have the choice to opt-out of allowing your ISP to collect and share your non-sensitive information—something they do for marketing purposes, and never associated with your specific online identity.

This vote did not change anything regarding your rights to protect your data, or what the ISPs can do with that data.

As your member of Congress, one of my top priorities is making sure that your privacy is protected on the Internet.

I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that your family’s private information does not fall into the wrong hands.

For more information about how the FTC protects your privacy, please click here.

For additional information about this issue, please click here.

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