Congresswoman Waters Supports Efforts to Protect and Preserve Internet Privacy for all Californians
WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters sent a letter to the California State Legislature in support of California Assembly Bill (AB) 375, the California Broadband Internet Privacy Act. On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law a repeal of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) internet privacy rules that would have required internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Verizon to obtain customers’ consent before selling their personal information. Without those internet privacy rules, an internet customer’s private information, including their browsing and internet usage history, can be sold off without that individual’s knowledge or consent.
Assembly Bill 375 protects the privacy of all Californians by requiring ISPs to get opt-in consent form consumers in order to use, disclose, sell, or permit access to their personal information. It further prohibits ISPs from charging consumers a penalty or refusing to provide service when they decline to provide such consent.
Congresswoman Waters has also co-sponsored a federal bill, the Online Privacy Act, which is similar to AB 375 and would protect internet users nationwide from the effects of the recent repeal of the FCC’s internet privacy rules.
The full text of the letter is below:
July 17, 2017
The Honorable Ed Chau
Chair, Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection
State Capitol, Room 5016
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Assemblymember Chau:
In April of this year, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans repealed the privacy rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Obama’s administration. These rules would have given broadband internet customers greater control over their personal information by requiring that internet service providers (ISPs) obtain consumers’ permission before selling customer data to advertisers. These regulations were developed over the course of several years and reflected extensive public comment. Without these rules, corporate ISPs can now sell their subscribers’ sensitive, highly personal information to the highest bidder without consent. Repealing these regulations sacrificed every American’s basic privacy rights in favor of corporate interests.
I have been a long time champion of advancing telecommunications policies that protect consumers, and I continue to fight for every American’s right to privacy. That is why I’m co-sponsoring the Online Privacy Act, federal legislation which would restore our right to say when and how our private information is used. It is also why I write today, to express my support for the California Broadband Internet Privacy Act (A.B. 375), which like the Online Privacy Act ensures that consumers enjoy choice, transparency, security and digital privacy when using the internet.
I commend the Assembly for taking the steps necessary to restore what the recently repealed FCC privacy rules were designed to accomplish. California has been at the leading edge of innovation in approaching privacy issues and consumer protection for years, and with this legislation that leadership continues. I support your legislation, which will give Californians control over their basic privacy rights.
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43)