House Repeals FCC Privacy Rules 

By: John Eggerton of Multichannel
In a victory for ISPs, advertisers and tech companies that had opposed the new FCC’s broadband privacy rules, the House voted primarily along party lines 215 to 205 Tuesday (March 28) to repeal those rules, with only the President’s signature needed to make it official. More than a dozen Republicans voted against it.

The vote on the Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval Tuesday (March 28) came after heated and sometimes loud debate, over the issue and even extended to talk about underwear size after Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) said that ISPs should not be able to sell online information on what size of underwear he buys to garment companies.

The Senate approved the CRA resolution March 23 by a vote of 50 to 48. The resolution removes the rules, approved on a party line vote Oct. 27, from the congressional record and prevents the FCC from adopting substantially similar rules in the future.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said the bill would allow “Big Brother” to get bigger. Comcast’s name was invoked repeatedly as something of a poster-company for those big ISPs seeking to run roughshod over consumer privacy rights, as Democrats portrayed the issue.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) noted that not a lot of Republicans were coming to the floor to defend the resolution. For his part, he said broadband providers were trying to seize the value of the Internet from content providers. He said everyone wanted a reasonable capital return on infrastructure, but said the entire value chain of the Internet should not be turned over to that infrastructure side.

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