Mar 22, 2017

Congress Is About To Give Away Your Online Privacy, Says Chris Hoofnagle


Congress Is About To Give Away Your Online Privacy

Terrell McSweeny and Chris Hoofnagle

Congress is poised to roll back FCC privacy protections in a way that could seriously compromise our online lives. The protections require internet service providers to secure consumer data and obtain consumers’ consent before mining and selling it.

The resolution that could come to a Congressional vote this week aims to tackle differences in how the FCC rule treats ISPs compared with other internet companies. Your broadband provider has to offer you a choice about what information it shares about you, but ecommerce sites and search engines do not....

Maintaining the current rules would make ISP practices more consistent with consumers’ expectations of confidentiality. Congress should spend time examining the strengths and weaknesses of our current approach, instead of using consistency arguments to eviscerate the FCC’s rule.


Chris Hoofnagle is an adjunct professor of information and of law at UC Berkeley, and elected member of the American Law Institute.

Last updated:

March 23, 2017