Blumenthal, Harris, Cornyn, Schatz

FCC Privacy Rule CRA Resolution of Disapproval (S.J. Res. 34)

Senator Blumenthal: (11:40 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the FCC privacy rule.
    • "The rules that the Federal Communication Commission recently promulgated - and when I say recently, it was October, only months ago - expanded the concept of privacy and consumer protection as applied to broadband. Now we are on the verge of rescinding those rules through S.J. Res. 34. This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers' use of social media sites and websites that often they take for granted. Many Americans simply don't stop to think about how broadband providers, as the carriers of all internet traffic, are also able to collect and use consumers' data to put together a detailed picture of who they are and what they do, where and when they buy things, where they go, what they like to do - all of that - an array of data that people assume is private. All of it freely available to those internet providers. Even when data is encrypted our broadband providers can piece together information about us, including private information, medical condition, financial problems, based on online activity. It is a mine that can be used -- more valuable than a gold mine - because that information can be sold and bought and used again so that privacy becomes a completely evanescent and illusory feature of our life."

 

Senator Harris: (11:52 a.m.)

  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • "The A.C.A set out to make things better, and seven years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It finally extended good, affordable health insurance to Americans like Crystal and Americans all across the nation. And Vice President Biden was absolutely right when at the time he said it was, quote, a big, and then I will not quote the next word, let's call it a blanking, deal. So it's a shame that people have been playing politics with this law and with America's health. The former speaker of the house said the A.C.A would be armageddon. A Republican presidential candidate who now sits in the cabinet called the A.C.A - and these are his actual words -- quote, the worst thing that has happened in our nation since slavery. And earlier this month, the President of the United States tweeted that the A.C.A is, quote, a complete and total disaster. Well, I say tell that to the people of California, because when a state wants to make the A.C.A work, it works, whether that's California or Kentucky, and real people, living real lives know it."

 

Senator Cornyn: (12:17 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the FCC privacy rule.
    • "Speaking of the vote that we'll be having in just a few minutes, for the last several weeks this chamber has worked very hard to undo harmful rules and regulations that were put forward by the Obama Administration at the last moment as he was headed out of the door. These are rules that hurt job creators and stifled economic growth. The F.C.C. Privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help and serve as another example of the government picking winners and losers. They unnecessarily target internet service providers and ultimately make our internet ecosystem less efficient by adding more red tape. The bottom line is the F.C.C privacy rules are bad regulations that need to be repealed. I should note that this congressional review action vote will not change the entire online privacy protections consumers currently enjoy and it does not change statutory privacy protections under the Communications Act. What it does is it repeals something that was done unilaterally by President Obama and his administration, as I said, as they were headed out the door following the ending of his term. I want to thank the Junior Senator from Arizona, Senator Flake, for his work on this C.R.A and moving it forward. And with that I urge all of our colleagues to support this resolution of disapproval."

 

Senator Schatz: (12:19 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the FCC privacy rule.
    • "The F.C.C spent months on this rule, and by using the C.R.A to get rid of it, Congress is taking away the F.C.Cs authority to do anything like it ever again. And that will mean there is no federal agency - not the F.T.C, not the F.C.C-- that even has jurisdiction on the issue of privacy for broadband providers. And so what's the solution here? We should work with the private sector, the F.C.C and the F.T.C to find a comprehensive solution together. At a time when data collection and use is increasing exponentially, republicans should not be rolling back protections for consumers. This is yet another repeal without replace. 55 years ago this month, President Kennedy gave a seminal speech about consumer rights. He spoke about the march of technology, how it had outpaced old laws and regulations, how fast that progress occurred. That progress is only getting faster, and the next massive technological change will be the internet of things in which we will have tens of billions of devices connected to each other and interacting with us, whether we like it or not. And so as technology marches on, what stays the same is the bedrock principle that President Kennedy outlined, that consumers have a right to be safe, they have a right to be informed, they have a right to choose, and they have a right to be heard."