The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law that requires internet service providers to obtain permission before tracking what customers look at online and selling that information to other companies. The repeal is supported by major internet companies like Facebook and Google as well as internet providers like Verizon and AT&T, Vanity Fair reports, adding that there would likely be an option for consumers to opt out.
"There are two sides to this," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is opposed to repealing consumers' privacy protections. "You want the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive, but you have to be able to say no, I don't want you in my living room. Yes, we're capitalists, but we're capitalists with a conscience."
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) spearheaded the effort to repeal the FCC's rules. "[The FCC's privacy order] is unnecessary, confusing, and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the internet,” Flake told Wired. "My legislation is the first step toward restoring the [Federal Trade Commission's] light-touch, consumer-friendly approach."
The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. The legislation would then need President Trump's signature to take effect.