Pelosi Calls on Internet Providers to Weigh In on GOP Measure to Eliminate Internet Privacy

Mar 28, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. — Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote to leading U.S. internet service providers, asking them to weigh in on a Republican measure scheduled for a House vote today to eliminate Americans' internet privacy.  The GOP measure, S.J. Res. 34, which passed the Senate, obliterates FCC privacy and data security rules requiring broadband and wireless internet service providers to obtain consent before collecting or selling sensitive information on consumers and their children.
“Americans shouldn’t have to give up every shred of privacy when they go online,” said Leader Pelosi.  “If Republicans succeed, companies will be able to sell Americans’ most personal and sensitive information - including private browser history - without your knowledge or consent.  Information about when you log on, where you log on, and what you read could be sold to anyone willing to pay for it.”

“Your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family – where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more,” Leader Pelosi continued.  “They can even track you when you’re surfing in a private browsing mode.  You deserve to be able to insist that those intimate details be kept private and secure.  But Republicans have picked the week after Russian spies were caught hacking into half a billion American email accounts to overturn the requirement that internet service providers keep their sensitive data secured from cybercriminals.”  
“With this measure, Republicans turn their backs on the 75 percent of Americans who want more control over their internet privacy.  Most Americans have no or limited choices for broadband providers and no recourse against these invasions of their privacy,” Leader Pelosi concluded.  “Internet service providers must now stand up and be counted - whether they will stand with consumers in opposing the Republican bill, or announce their eagerness to sell the private information of the American people.”

Leader Pelosi sent the following letter to 11 leading internet service providers: 
Century Link
The full text of the letter is below:

Today, the House is scheduled to vote on S.J. Res. 34, a measure using the Congressional Review Act to block the 2016 FCC broadband privacy rules.  These privacy rules give Americans control over how the information a broadband provider collects on them or their children can be used by others.  

Your company is a leading provider of Internet access to consumers, and you are aware of consumers’ interest in basic privacy protections.   For those reasons, I request that you please submit your answers to each of the three ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions as soon as possible:

•    Ten other Internet access providers, your competitors, sent Congress a letter on Monday, March 27, 2017 supporting the FCC rules and opposing S.J. Res 34.  Will your company join that letter or send a similar letter?

•    Americans learned last week that agents of Russian intelligence hacked into e-mail accounts to obtain secrets on American companies, government officials and more.  This resolution would not only end the requirement you take reasonable measures to protect consumers’ sensitive information, but prevents the FCC from enacting a similar requirement and leaves no other agency capable of protecting consumers.  Does your company support the enactment of S.J. Res. 34?
Thank you for your attention to consumer privacy and to this urgent matter.

Democratic Leader

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