Louisiana Congressmen vote 6-2 to kill web privacy rules - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Louisiana Congressmen vote 6-2 to kill web privacy rules

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Six of Louisiana's eight Congressional delegates voted in favor of a measure that eliminates forthcoming Internet privacy rules, and the bill is now set for President Trump's signature.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and approved largely down party lines, scraps Obama-era Federal Communications Commission rules that would have required Internet providers to obtain their customers' permission before sharing their information with third parties, like advertisers.

The Senate on March 23 passed the bill 50-48, and on Wednesday, the House passed the measure 215-205. Here's how Louisiana's delegation voted:

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge):  yes
  • U.S. Sen. John Kennedy: yes
  • U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Port Barre): yes
  • U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson): yes
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Benton): yes
  • U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge): no
  • U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Mangham): yes
  • U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans): no

LUS Fiber, Lafayette's municipal broadband service, issued a statement on Friday in response to the bill:

In light of the recent Congressional vote to eliminate broadband privacy protections, we would like to take this opportunity to reassure our customers that LUS Fiber does not sell their web browsing history.

The repeal of these privacy rules represents the interests of corporate Internet providers. By stark contrast, LUS Fiber is owned by the citizens of Lafayette. As such, we have always recognized that our customers highly value their privacy and we have never participated in these types of activities – nor do we intend to do so.

It is our understanding that LUS Fiber is the only Internet provider in Lafayette that operates in this manner.

LUS Fiber encourages everyone to stay informed about their privacy rights and to choose the provider that best protects them.

Contacted by KATC, a local spokesperson with Cox Communications issued the following statement:

We’re committed to the privacy of our customers regardless of any legal or regulatory changes. We continue to stand by our commitment to customers, as stated in our customer privacy notice:

“It is our policy not to disclose Personally Identifiable Information to persons outside of Cox, other than our affiliates, vendors and business partners, without your prior consent.”

The full Privacy Notice is on our website.

A local spokesperson with AT&T, which also provides broadband service in the Lafayette area, declined to speak on the matter.

NCTA: The Internet and Television Association issued a statement earlier this week on behalf of most U.S. broadband providers — including Cox, AT&T, Verizon and Northeast Louisiana Telephone Co., Inc. (NortheastTel), among others — in support of the measure.

Today’s Congressional action to repeal the FCC’s misguided rules marks an important step toward restoring consumer privacy protections that apply consistently to all internet companies. With a proven record of safeguarding consumer privacy, internet providers will continue to work on innovative new products that follow ‘privacy-by-design’ principles and honor the FTC’s successful consumer protection framework. We look forward to working with policymakers to restore consistency and balance to online privacy protections.

National telecommunications companies have donated at least $1.1 million to Louisiana’s national delegation since 2010, according to the National Institute for Money in Politics, which collects information on campaign contributions.

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