Senate Dems Press Internet Service Providers Over Privacy Policies

A group of Senate Democrats is asking top telecom companies to provide details of their privacy policies in the wake of Republicans’ repeal of broadband privacy rules this week.

The senators, led by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyRegulators seek to remove barriers to electric grid storage Markey, Paul want to know if new rules are helping opioid treatment Oil spill tax on oil companies reinstated as part of budget deal MORE> (D-Mass.), sent letters containing a list of questions about privacy to AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and CenturyLink.

President Trump on Monday signed a bill repealing Federal Communications Commission rules that would have prevented internet service providers from using certain categories of their customers’ data for advertising without their permission.

ADVERTISEMENTIn their list of questions, the senators grill the companies on what their policies are regarding the use of sensitive information for advertising.

“Do you obtain affirmative opt-in consent to use, share, or sell any of the following information: web browsing history, app usage history, the content of communications, children’s information, health information, financial information, geo-location, and Social Security numbers?” reads one. 

“If yes, please detail your policy. If no, why not? If no, please disclose what information you are sharing and selling and with whom you are sharing or selling that information.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenShould the Rob Porter outcome set the standard? Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE> (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE> (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE> (I-Vt.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE> (D-Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Popular bill to fight drug prices left out of budget deal Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr. MORE> (D-Vt.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Republicans pushed the bill to repeal the rules through the House and Senate last month, prompting an outcry from consumer advocates and privacy groups. The bill’s proponents argue that the rules unfairly subjected internet service providers to restrictions not faced by websites like Facebook and Google, which also employ data-driven marketing.

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