A Senate committee is set to vote Thursday on legislation requiring Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon to make customers’ browsing histories available for consumers to see.
Sen. Mike Crapo Michael (Mike) Thomas CraposCrapo says ‘we don’t know enough’ about data breaches, but ‘we’re doing everything we can’ in case of data breach Senate Dems aim to force vote on cybersecurity bill on Friday Senate Dems seek to force Senate vote on cyber security bill on Thursday Senate Dems vote on Cybersecurity bill Friday Senate Democrats to hold up Cybersecurity Act until Thursday MORE (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that the legislation would require Internet service providers to disclose their customers’ personal browsing history to consumers.
Crapos office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Internet providers have long struggled with privacy concerns, but the Senate bill is the first time they have sought to regulate the practice.
The proposal, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, would prohibit the use of online tracking technologies, such as cookies and browser histories, to identify individuals and provide advertisers with more targeted advertising.
Internet service providers have argued that these types of technology are used to track customers without their consent.
Internet users’ personal data is also shared with advertisers, who can target ads based on individuals’ browsing habits.
Internet companies have also argued that their services provide a level of anonymity that makes it difficult for users to track their locations or their activities online.
In addition, the bill would also require internet service providers “to maintain and maintain a record of any and all information collected about customers by third parties for the purpose of tracking and analyzing the performance of that customer’s online activity.”
The bill would require internet providers to maintain a database of information about consumers’ browsing activities and to share it with law enforcement and intelligence agencies for purposes such as criminal investigations.
Internet companies have complained about the potential for privacy breaches, and the Senate legislation would prohibit internet service provider from using their users’ information to conduct surveillance.
In December, Congress passed a law that required internet service companies to notify consumers about data breach incidents within 72 hours.
Internet giants, including Comcast and Yahoo, have lobbied against the bill, saying it would force them to share customer data with companies that have previously been accused of cybercrimes.
“This is just the latest example of the FCC pushing for more and more government regulation,” said Alex Stamos, senior policy adviser for Common Cause, a consumer advocacy group.
“It is simply not reasonable to expect Internet providers and other providers to be able to predict, store, and protect the privacy of the American people if they can’t even be bothered to know if their customers are online.”