House lawmakers on Tuesday voted to overturn an Obama-era privacy rule for broadband providers, buoying telecommunications firms but potentially muddying consumer-protection standards.
The vote, largely along party lines, was 215 to 205.
The rule, adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in the waning months of the Obama administration, required telecommunications firms such as Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. to get customers’ permission to market their app and web-browsing history to third parties. It was opposed by broadband providers, who said it could unfairly tilt the playing field in favor of internet rivals, such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit and Facebook Inc., which generally are regulated by another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and face less stringent standards when it comes to consumers’ data.
Congressional Democrats as well as consumer advocates complained on Tuesday that the rollback removes important legal protections for broadband-access customers. The bill “totally wipes out consumer protections” on the internet, said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.).