State lawmakers look to protect internet privacy after FCC decision

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — President Trump signed a bill this week that rolls back internet privacy rules passed during President Obama‘s administration. Now, state Democrats are taking steps that they said will protect Connecticut consumers most personal information.

“Individuals should be in a position to control their personal data,” said Sen. Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury).

The move rolls back internet privacy regulations passed last year by the Federal Communications Commission. The regulations gave users more control over what internet service providers can do with their personal data.

“This is one of those things that is probably a gross violation of consumer rights and really what most people would think is fair and reasonable,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).

The worry is that broadband cable and internet providers will collect web browsing history and personal information from customers, then sell it to third parties for targeted advertising. Users can switch internet search engines like Google easily, but there’s only a few internet service providers to choose from.

State Democratic senator’s are aiming to step between the FCC and Connecticut residents.

“Entities should not be allowed to monetize personal data without the permission of those individuals,” said Hartley.

They plan to introduce legislation that forces internet service providers to give state residents a chance to opt out of any data collection.

“This is really nothing more than taking people’s information when they are on internet service provider’s and selling it to the highest bidder,” Duff said.

In a Washington Post Op-Ed, the head of the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission, said the privacy concerns are overblown. The piece says in part; “Internet service providers have never planned to sell your individual browsing history to third parties. That’s simply not how online advertising works. And doing so would violate ISPs’ privacy promises.”

Details on the state bill are still being worked out. They plan to introduce it as an amendment attached to a commerce bill.

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