Local reaction to lawmakers axing FCC privacy law
COLUMBIA - The U.S. House voted to repeal a set of Obama-era consumer protection rules Tuesday. The move lets Internet providers collect and sell peoples' personal information, web habits, location information, and health data.
The original bill, expanded privacy rules and was adopted at the end of President Obama's last term.
The House debated and voted to get rid of the protection rules by a margin of 10. The Senate approved the measure last week. Now all it needs is President Trump's approval to make it official.
The debate was heated. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass) delivered an angry speech on the House floor.
He said, "I just have one question.What the heck are you thinking? What is in your mind? Why would you want to give up any of your personal information to a faceless corporation for the sole purpose of them selling it?"
Democrats argued advertisers and tech companies should not be allowed to sell customers' information because it was an invasion of privacy.
Supporters of the repeal argued the regulations were duplicative. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex) said the regulation was "dropped on the doorstep" by the previous administration. The main argument supporters put forward was the regulations choked market competition, innovation and inhibited broad cybersecurity initiatives.
That's not how some local residents feel. KOMU spoke to more than fifteen mid-Missourians and the overwhelming reaction to the news was negative.
John Betz, a local radio host at KOPN, said, "It's a very disturbing thing knowing an Internet provider would just have that legal ability to sell personal information."
Another community member, Bruce Inn said privacy was a big deal to him.
"I mean I'm against it. I think it's an invasion of privacy. It shouldn't be done," Inn said.
Two Columbia College students agreed. Kyle Matynka said the idea of Comcast or AT&T selling his private information made him a "little bit uncomfortable" and Martin Kalabek said, "I don't really want to share my personal information with people I don't even know or trust."
According to federal statistics, many Americans have only one or two Internet providers to choose from.