National Online Privacy Law Is Up For Discussion: Will It Pass?

federal online privacy law proposalA few months after Congress voted to kill a set of incoming Federal Communications Commission online privacy rules, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is trying to push an alternative digital disclosure bill through the House. What makes Blackburn’s bill different than the axed one? Let’s take a look.

Some Legislators Didn’t Like The FCC’s Online Privacy Rules

You may be thinking: Why don’t legislators want an online privacy law? It seems like a relatively innocuous topic that everyone can agree on; who doesn’t want to retain a level of digital privacy? These are fair questions — on which most private citizens concur. Large online companies (who make enormous campaign contributions), on the other hand, see things a bit differently. After all, these companies must profit somehow. (Do you pay for your personal Facebook account?) Many online companies keep the lights on and ports open by selling a) advertising and b) user data. In other — perhaps blunter — words: A lot of online companies make payroll by selling user data to advertisers.

So, why don’t online businesses want a universal online privacy measure? You guessed it: money. Retrofitting an operation to new regulations will cost considerable money and resources.

But there’s another reason why the FCC’s online privacy rules weren’t popular: they were, arguably, unfair. Under the now defunct regulations, Internet Service Providers — like Comcast and Time Warner — would’ve been subject to the law, but giant online companies — like Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would’ve fallen into the “edge services” category and exempt from the rules.

Under Blackburn’s draft legislation, so-called “edge services” would be subject to the same rules as Internet Service Providers.

Online Business Lobbyists Oppose Latest Online Privacy Law Proposal

As you can probably imagine, lobbyists and trade associations working on behalf of ISPs and online businesses are aggressively pushing back against the latest attempt at an online privacy law. Their arguments: 1) Blackburn’s proposal could “upend the consumer experience online and stifle innovation,” and 2) Websites and apps are already under the purview of “strict” Federal Trade Commission “privacy enforcement.”

Connect With An Online Privacy Law Attorney

Are you dealing with an online privacy legal issue? If so, we can help. As pioneers in the field of Internet law, Kelly / Warner has handled numerous digital security situations and consultations. Whether it’s a one-off matter, or you need an attorney to act as a privacy officer, we have solutions. Get in touch today to begin the conversation.

Article Sources

Neidig, H. (2017, May 26). New GOP bill may revive internet privacy fight. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from http://thehill.com/policy/technology/335194-new-gop-bill-may-revive-internet-privacy-fight