By: Jerry Hanley
In early April of this year, President Trump enacted congressional legislation in order to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) privacy protection afforded to Internet Users. This decision ultimately allows Internet providers to partake in the online advertising market by allowing them to collect, store, share, buy and sell a host of user information including but not limited to your history regarding web browsing, and app usage, as well as your location details all without receiving your consent, or even consulting you beforehand.
In a good faith effort to remedy the Presidents repeal and protect its citizen’s privacy, California pushed Assembly Bill 375, which closely mirrored the FCC’s repealed privacy rules. The bill, if passed, would have prohibited broadband internet access providers from using, disclosing, or permitting access to customer proprietary information without their consent beginning on January 1st, 2019. Another provision in the bill would have barred providers from limiting or refusing Internet service, or penalizing the customer in any way for refusing to waive their privacy rights. These provisions would allow individuals greater control over their personal information, as well as more protection to their autonomy. However, when the time came this Saturday, the bill never came up for a vote.
If successful, the passing of BA 375 would have likely been the first domino to fall causing a chain reaction of more than 20 other states, to include New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island according to the National Conference of State Legislature to name only a few. Opponents of the bill used changes that were implemented on it Tuesday as evidence in their argument that perhaps the bill is being rushed to completion. The lobbyists in opposition also claimed the bill lacked clarity and foundational concepts.
Whatever the true reason for the bill being passed over, two things are clear: Individuals have little to no control over their personal information and autonomy on the Internet, and the fight to regain that control is far from over.
Author Bio: Jerry Hanley is a second-year law student at Suffolk University Law School, and a current Staff Member of The Journal of High Technology Law.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are the views of the author alone and do not represent the views of JHTL or Suffolk University Law School.