March 29, 2018

Grassley: Internet Users Need Clarity on How Personal Information is Protected

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley released the following statement regarding Congress’ action to repeal a flawed Obama-era regulation that would have created confusion about how consumers’ online information is protected:
 
“I understand the importance of privacy protections for internet users, and I support a uniform set of rules for how companies handle consumers’ information. Unfortunately, this last-minute FCC regulation created a false sense of security for consumers because it established a double standard for how companies protect personal information. Without uniform protections, consumers might think they are protected when they actually are not. Consumers deserve clarity on how their personal information is protected.”
 
Congress’ action to repeal the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation does not make consumers’ personal information more vulnerable. Rather, it ensures that the long-established approach to protecting on online information applies equally across the internet ecosystem.
 
Longstanding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules regulate how personal information should be protected, regardless of what company has access to it. The FCC’s proposal would create a double standard, subjecting internet service providers to a different set of rules. As a result, internet activity like browsing history, would be treated differently than search or streaming history. The double standard would cause confusion among consumers as to what is protected and what isn’t.
 
Beyond creating confusion for consumers, the regulation also raised serious competition concerns as it created an unfair playing field for different companies operating in the same space.
 
The FTC raised concern about the rule last year, calling it “not optimal." The current FCC chairman and the acting FTC chairman recently announced they’re committed to working together to ensure that “all actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, enforced by the same agency.”
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