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David McCabe May 18, 2017
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Blackburn bill would extend privacy rules to Google & Facebook

Gage Skidmore

Rep. Marsha Blackburn introduced a bill on Thursday that would apply privacy rules to internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast and web companies such as Google and Facebook. The bill would require the companies to get their users' permission before sharing their sensitive information, including web-browsing history, with advertisers.

Why now?: Congress voted earlier this year to undo the Federal Communications Commission's privacy rules prohibiting ISPs from sharing or selling customer's personal data without their consent. The move led to an outcry from consumers worried that nixing the rules gave big telecom companies the opening to sell user data to the highest bidder without their knowledge.

Why it matters: Using customer data for advertising purposes is at the core of Facebook and Google's digital ad businesses, and ISPs like Verizon and AT&T are also trying to break into the online ad market. Blackburn, who chairs a key House committee overseeing telecom and tech issues, said she wanted both internet providers and web services to be subject to the same rules. "What we know is that when people talk about, 'I don't like pop ups that I get, and I don't like this and I don't like that,' that's activity that comes from the edge providers, not the ISPs," Blackburn told Axios.