Who Voted Against Internet Privacy Bill?

The vote in the House on Tuesday to approve a resolution allowing internet service providers to sell data on their customers’ browsing history was virtually divided down the middle. Nine members did not vote in the final vote, which resulted in a vote of 215-205.

The Democrats voted as a bloc against the resolution. On the Republican side, 15 legislators broke ranks and came out against the bill.

The resolution, which was approved by the Senate last week, prevents Internet service providers (ISPs) from selling consumer data to marketers and others, including app usage, browsing history, and even Social Security numbers. When it was finalized last year, the rule was widely praised by privacy and consumer activists, but it hadn’t yet gone into force. Now, even if President Trump signs it, as he is likely to do, it will not be implemented.

Not only that, but no similar rule can be made again under the terms of the Congressional Review Act, which was the procedure utilized by Congress to overturn the rule.

Here’s a quick recap of how we got here: Most of the internet is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, which includes corporations like Google and Facebook. The FTC forbids unfair or deceptive trade practices when it comes to privacy. But, thanks to a judgement by the FCC (a separate agency with a similar acronym) two years ago categorizing high-speed internet as an important telecommunications service, the FTC has no power over “common carriersa classification that applies to internet service providers.

The FCC’s privacy legislation, which is stricter and more explicit than the FTC’s, has chafed companies like AT&T, Comcast, and others, many of which spend millions of dollars lobbying Washington every year. Customers’ personal information cannot be used for marketing reasons without their approval, according to the FCC. However, questions like what information was included and what defines “consent” were left unanswered. That’s where the rule from last year comes into play. It states that providers cannot sell a customer’s web browsing history or app usage without their consent, among other things. It also forbids firms from employing a “opt-out” definition of consent, which would require customers to affirmatively express their assent for their data to be shared.

The sector has essentially claimed that it should not be subjected to regulations that are more onerous than those imposed on Google, Facebook, and other similar businesses. It has been arguing its case with the support of a group it founded two years ago, the 21st Century Privacy Coalition (whose mission appears to contradict its name).

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who has been a strong opponent of the rule, warned this week that allowing the FTC and the FCC to oversee various aspects of the internet will “cause confusion within the Internet ecosystem and damage consumers.”

Critics of this viewpoint argue that it is difficult to understand how enhanced consumer privacy protection would harm such consumers. Furthermore, ISPs “offer a crucial service,” according to Laura Moy, a visiting law professor at Georgetown University and a technology and legal expert, and many Americans have little or no choice in who they use. “Perhaps the solution is for everyone to be more tightly regulated.

Without the rule, the old statutory language will apply, which is quite ambiguous concerning consent and what information is governed. Given that the FCC is now chaired by a Republican, Ajit Pai, who objected forcefully to the agency’s categorization of the internet two years ago, critics fear that providers will be free to conduct more risky activities than in past years.

However, it is evident that a large number of Americans are dissatisfied with Congress’ decision to repeal a rule titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services,” which could have long-term consequences.

“I believe many Republican citizens whose representatives voted to repeal the regulation are furious,” Moy added. ” If the reaction to this is any indication, things like repealing net neutrality rules, another Obama-era legacy that Pai and other Republicans want to undo, may be politically impossible.

What senators are in favor of the EARN IT Act?


Last Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act), which has bipartisan support in Congress. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have introduced legislation that will encourage the tech industry to take online child sexual exploitation seriously by removing blanket immunity for violations of laws relating to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Rights4Girls, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, National District Attorneys Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, International Justice Mission, and Major Cities Chiefs Association are among the more than 250 organizations, survivors, and stakeholders who support the EARN IT Act.

“Senator Blackburn claims that online platforms have made it easier for pedophiles to seduce and exploit youngsters. ” The internet industry has no excuse for failing to safeguard the platforms that empower abusers. The EARN IT Act will compel Big Tech to take the necessary steps to make the internet a safer place for children.

“Senator Graham stated that there are tens of millions of photographs and videos circulating on the internet depicting the most terrible acts of sexual assault and torture of minors. ” The EARN IT Act eliminates service providers’ blanket liability protection under Section 230 in the case of child sexual abuse content on their websites. We hear you, all of the victim organizations and law enforcement agencies pleading with Congress to act on the plague of child sexual abuse material and child exploitation on the internet. The days of children being exploited on the internet while their families were unable to stop it are numbered.

“Senator Blumenthal explained that the EARN IT Act is about whether internet corporations should be held liable for their role in child sexual abuse and exploitation when they refuse to disclose or delete photographs of these crimes from their platforms. “The modern internet is riddled with stomach-churning images of children who have been horribly raped and exploited, and who will be tormented by their pain for the rest of their lives as a result of these photographs and films being distributed online. Tech corporations have had ready access to low-cost or even free solutions to address the problem of child sexual abuse material for a long time but have failed to do action. Because there are so few penalties when these firms look the other way, millions of these horrible photos go undetected and unreported by the internet platforms that host them. The EARN IT Act puts an end to that.

The following are some of the highlights of the EARN IT Act:

  • It gives the internet industry a tremendous incentive to take online child sexual exploitation seriously. The bill changes Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to completely eliminate blanket immunity from federal civil, criminal, and civil child sexual abuse material statutes. When it comes to combating child sexual exploitation and eradicating CSAM, service providers will now be punished equally to everyone else, generating accountability.
  • Creates a National Commission on the Prevention of Online Child Sexual Exploitation, which will be in charge of developing voluntary best practices. The Commission is made up of the heads of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as 16 other members appointed equally by Congressional leadership from law enforcement, survivors and victims’ service organizations, constitutional law experts, technical experts, and industry.
  • Survivors have recourse and enforcement tools. The law strengthens the enforcement of child sexual abuse material statutes and provides civil remedies to survivors.

The EARN IT Act’s history is as follows:

  • The Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 grants “interactive computer services broad immunity from civil and state criminal prosecution for third-party information on their platforms.” Unfortunately, because of this limited liability, many businesses do not pursue online child sexual exploitation vigorously.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Josh Hawley (R-Mo. ), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John Kennedy (R-La. ), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Rob Portman (R-Ohio (D-Va.).

In the House of Representatives, Representatives Ann Wagner (R-Miss.) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) will introduce similar legislation.

Who voted for the Patriot Act and who voted against it?

The Patriot Act was passed in reaction to the September 11 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and Arlington, Virginia’s Pentagon, as well as the 2001 anthrax attacks, with the declared purpose of drastically enhancing national security. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) filed House bill H.R. 3162 on October 23, 2001, which included features from a previously-sponsored House bill as well as a Senate bill submitted earlier that month. The Act passed the House the next day, October 24, by a vote of 35766, with Democrats accounting for the vast majority of “no” votes. Robert Ney of Ohio, Butch Otter of Idaho, and Ron Paul of Texas were the three Republicans who voted no. The Act received 981 votes in the Senate on October 25. Russ Feingold (D-WI) voted against the bill. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law on October 26.

Opponents of the law have criticized its provisions for indefinite detention of immigrants, permission for law enforcement to search a home or business without the owner’s or occupant’s consent or knowledge under certain circumstances, and the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the FBI to search telephone, email, and financial records without a court order. Several court challenges have been filed against the legislation since its adoption, with federal courts ruling that several aspects are unconstitutional.

Many of the provisions of the act were slated to expire on December 31, 2005, almost four years after it was passed. Supporters of the legislation worked to make those provisions permanent in the months leading up to the sunset date, while critics attempted to alter key aspects to improve civil liberties protections. The Senate enacted a reauthorization bill in July 2005 that made significant changes to key portions of the act, but the House reauthorization bill preserved most of the original language. Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties chastised the conference committee for neglecting civil liberty issues while the two laws were harmonized.

The bill passed Congress on March 2, 2006, and President Bush signed it on March 9 and 10, 2006, removing most of the amendments from the Senate version.

On May 11, 2012, President Barack Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, which extends three core components of the Patriot Act for another four years: roving wiretaps, searches of corporate records, and surveillance of “lone wolves” (individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups).

Parts of the Patriot Act expired on June 1, 2015, after reauthorization legislation failed to pass Congress. These lapsed parts were reenacted through 2019 by the USA Freedom Act, which was signed into law on June 2, 2015. The statute was altered in Section 215 to prevent the National Security Agency (NSA) from continuing its mass phone data gathering operation. Instead, phone companies would keep the data, and the National Security Agency (NSA) will be able to collect information on specific individuals with a federal search order.

The extension of the Patriot Act was included in the stop-gap legislation in November 2019. By March 15, 2020, the lapsed provisions had to be renewed. In March 2020, the Senate passed a 77-day extension, but the House of Representatives failed to ratify it before going on recess on March 27, 2020.

Is the government interested in your internet history?

Let me now explain how we arrived here. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the government can currently collect web surfing and internet search data without a warrant. FISA’s Section 215 is the most contentious and dangerous section. That’s because it’s so wide and imprecise. The government can collect almost anything under Section 215 as long as it is pertinent to an inquiry. This could contain the personal information of law-abiding citizens. They don’t have to be guilty of any wrongdoing. It is not necessary for them to be suspected of anything. They don’t even have to have had contact with somebody who is suspected of committing a crime. All that is required of their personal information is that it be “relevant.”

Is the Earn It Act still in effect?

Senators Richard Blumenthal, Kevin Cramer, Dianne Feinstein, Josh Hawley, Doug Jones, Robert Casey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Richard Durbin, and Joni Ernst co-sponsored the EARN Act in the Senate on March 5, 2020; Senators John Kennedy, Ted Cruz, Chuck Grassley, and Rob Portman later co-sponsored the bill. The measure was examined by the Judiciary Committee, and it was passed out of that committee on July 20, 2020, with an updated version to be voted on by the Senate. On October 2, 2020, the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.

Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal reintroduced the bill in February 2022, and the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed it.

What is the 230 law, exactly?

Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code, created as part of the United States Communications Decency Act, grants website platforms immunity from liability for third-party content. Section 230(c)(1), at its heart, exempts producers and users of a “interactive computer service” who publish information given by third-party users from liability:

No interactive computer service provider or user shall be considered the publisher or speaker of information given by another information content source.

Operators of interactive computer services who remove or moderate third-party material they deem “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected” are protected from civil liability under Section 230(c)(2).

In the early 1990s, a couple of cases against Internet service providers (ISPs) resulted in differing views of whether the service providers should be viewed as publishers or, instead, as distributors of content provided by their users. It was fully codified as part of the Communications Act of 1934 at 47 U.S.C.230, as part of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 (a common name for Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996). The CDA was challenged in court after passage of the Telecommunications Act, and the Supreme Court pronounced it unconstitutional in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997), though Section 230 was found to be severable from the rest of the legislation and left in effect. Several court challenges since then have confirmed Section 230’s constitutionality.

Section 230 was passed at a time when Internet use in the United States was just beginning to expand in terms of both the variety of services and the range of consumers. It is frequently referred to as a key law that allowed the Internet to develop.

What does the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 do?

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects online platforms from civil liability based on third-party content and allows for the removal of content in certain circumstances, was examined as part of the US Department of Justice’s broader review of market-leading online platforms.

Why was the Patriot Act repealed?

In 2019, Netflix blocked an episode from streaming in Saudi Arabia after officials protested that it was disrespectful of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged participation in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Who was the first to propose the Patriot Act?

After the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration sent a draft bill to Congress that would give the government the ability to monitor, investigate, and jail suspected terrorists. On October 11, the final Senate measure, the Uniting and Strengthening America (USA) Act, was passed (961). On October 12, the House of Representatives passed the Uniting and Strengthening America (USA) Act (33779), which incorporated most of the text of the Senate’s USA Act. On October 23, the House submitted the USA PATRIOT Act, a compromise bill that was passed (35766) the next day. On October 25, the Senate passed the House bill (981) without alteration, and Bush signed it into law the next day.

What are the reasons for the Patriot Act’s unconstitutionality?

A panicked Congress passed the “USA/Patriot Act” just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers, such as judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.

Why Congress passed the Patriot Act

The majority of the reforms to surveillance law imposed by the Patriot Act were on a long-standing law enforcement wish list that Congress had previously rejected, in some cases multiple times. Congress switched course after being pressured by the Bush administration in the harrowing weeks following the September 11 attacks.

The Senate’s version of the Patriot Act, which closely resembled Attorney General John Ashcroft’s request, was rushed to the floor with no debate, debate, or hearings.

Many Senators claimed that they didn’t have enough time to read it, let alone analyze it, before voting.

Hearings were held in the House, and the Judiciary Committee produced a carefully crafted compromise bill. The House leadership then tossed away the compromise package and replaced it with legislation that resembled the Senate version without debate or consultation with rank-and-file members. Members were not allowed to debate or propose modifications, and they barely had time to read the lengthy law before being obliged to vote yes or no. The Bush Administration intimated that members who voted against it would be held responsible for any future attacks, a powerful threat at a time when the country was bracing for a second attack at any moment and fresh anthrax letters were being reported on a daily basis.

Congress and the Administration took no steps to assess if the assaults were made possible by flaws in our surveillance laws, or whether the improvements they were making would assist prevent future attacks.

Many of the provisions of the act have nothing to do with terrorism.

The Patriot Act increases the government’s power to spy in four areas

In four areas, the Patriot Act expands the government’s monitoring powers:

  • Lookups of records It broadens the government’s power to examine third-party records on an individual’s activities. (Paragraph 215 of the Code of Federal Regulations)
  • Secret searches are conducted.
  • It gives the government more power to search private property without the owner’s knowledge. (Paragraph 212 of the Code of Federal Regulations)
  • Searches for information.
  • It broadens a narrow Fourth Amendment exception established for the collecting of foreign intelligence information (Section 218).
  • “Trap and trace” searches are a type of search.
  • It extends another Fourth Amendment exception for espionage that collects “addressing” information about the origin and destination of communications rather than the substance of those communications (Section 214).

One of the most important aspects of the Patriot Act makes it significantly easier for authorities to obtain access to third-party information of citizens’ actions. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to compel anyone – including doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities, and Internet service providers – to turn over records on their clients or customers at a time when computerization is leading to the creation of an increasing number of such records.

As a result, the government has unrestricted authority to snoop into people’s financial information, medical histories, Internet usage, bookshop purchases, library usage, travel habits, and any other action that leaves a record.

To make matters worse,

  • The government is no longer need to establish that the people subject to search warrants are “agents of a foreign power,” a condition that historically shielded Americans from abuse of this power.
  • The FBI doesn’t even have to establish that the documents are linked to criminal conduct, let alone meet the Fourth Amendment’s “probable cause” requirement.
  • All the government has to do is claim that the request is relevant to a terrorist or foreign intelligence investigation that is ongoing.
  • There is virtually no judicial monitoring of these new powers.
  • The government needs merely attest to a judge that such a search fulfills the statute’s broad criteria, with no need for evidence or proof, and the judge has no jurisdiction to reject the application.
  • Surveillance warrants can be predicated in part on a person’s First Amendment actions, such as books read, Web sites visited, or letters to the editor sent.
  • A person or organization obliged to turn over records is not allowed to tell anyone about the search.
  • The subjects of monitoring are never informed that their personal records have been inspected by the government as a result of this gag order.
  • This weakens a crucial check on this power: the ability of individuals to challenge illegal searches.

“any physical items” means “books, records, papers, documents, and other tangible stuff.”

Only common carriers, public lodging, physical storage, or automobile rental facilities are allowed.

The Patriot Act’s Section 215 breaches the Constitution in a number of ways.


  • It’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which states that the government can’t search someone without a warrant and probable cause to believe they’ve committed or will commit a crime.
  • The law violates the First Amendment’s provision of free expression by preventing search order receivers from informing others about the orders, even if there is no legitimate reason for concealment.
  • It effectively authorizes the FBI to conduct investigations against American individuals in part for exercising their right to free speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment.
  • By failing to provide notice – even after the fact – to anyone whose privacy has been invaded, it violates the Fourth Amendment.
  • The Fifth Amendment guarantees due process, and notice is an important part of that.

For centuries, common law has mandated that the government cannot enter your property without your permission, and that it must therefore notify you before conducting a search. The Fourth Amendment’s “knock and announce” provision has long been acknowledged as a part of the Constitution.

However, the Patriot Act changes the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in an illegal way, allowing the government to conduct searches without telling the subjects, at least until after the search has been completed.

This implies that the government can enter a house, apartment, or business with a search warrant while the residents are gone, look through their belongings, take photographs, and in some situations, seize property – all without informing them.

Notice is an important check on government authority because it forces authorities to act in the open and allows those who are being searched to exercise their Fourth Amendment rights.

It enables people, for example, to point out flaws in a warrant, such as the fact that the police are at the wrong house or that the warrant’s scope has been exceeded (for example, by rifling through dresser drawers in a search for a stolen car).

Although search warrants generally specify restrictions on what can be searched, a property owner cannot protect his or her rights when the searching police have unlimited and unfettered discretion over the search.

Finally, this new “sneak and peek” power can be used in ordinary criminal investigations; it has nothing to do with counter-terrorism or foreign intelligence gathering.

The Patriot Act allows the FBI to execute a secret physical search or wiretap on American residents in order to gather evidence of wrongdoing without having to prove probable cause, as the Fourth Amendment requires.

When the objective of a wiretap or search is to acquire foreign information, a 1978 statute called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for probable cause.

The reasoning was that because the search was not undertaken with the intent of acquiring evidence to prosecute someone, the criteria might be relaxed.

The Patriot Act, however, broadened this once-broad exception to embrace wiretaps and searches that DO acquire evidence for typical domestic criminal cases, demonstrating how hazardous it may be to construct exceptions to fundamental liberties.

Previously, FISA only permitted searches if the primary goal was to obtain foreign intelligence.

However, the Patriot Act modifies the legislation to allow searches when intelligence is “a major objective.”

Even when its principal objective is conventional law enforcement, the government can get around the Constitution’s reasonable cause requirement this way.

The secret court that regulates domestic intelligence snooping exposed the desire of many in law enforcement to ignore the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions in August 2002. (the “FISA Court”).

For the first time in history, the Supreme Court made one of its judgments public, rejecting the Bush Administration’s attempt to empower criminal prosecutors to utilize intelligence warrants to completely circumvent the Fourth Amendment.

The court also found that agents submitting warrant applications routinely provided inaccurate and deceptive information.

That decision is now up for review.

The Patriot Act also expands another exception to the typical requirement for probable cause under wiretap legislation.

When the law governing telephone wiretaps was developed years ago, it made a distinction between two sorts of surveillance.

The first provides for monitoring of a communication’s content or meaning, whereas the second simply allows for monitoring of transactional or addressing data associated to a message. It’s similar to the difference between reading a letter’s address on the outside and reading the letter inside, or between listening to a phone conversation and simply recording the phone numbers dialed and received.

Pen register/trap and trace searches are wiretaps that are confined to transactional or addressing information (for the devices that were used on telephones to collect telephone numbers).

The FBI does not need to prove probable cause or even reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior to get a PR/TT warrant.

It merely needs to certify to a judge that such a warrant would be “relevant” to an ongoing criminal investigation, without having to prove it. Furthermore, the judge has no authority to deny the application.

The Patriot Act broadens the exception to the pen register in two ways:

Under the Patriot Act, a judge’s PR/TT orders are no longer limited to the judge’s jurisdiction, but can be enforced throughout the United States.

Because a judge cannot adequately supervise the amount to which his or her order is being used, this “national service” further marginalizes the role of the court.

This provision also allows for the equivalent of a blank warrant, in which the court issues the order and the law enforcement agent fills in the locations to be searched. This is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which requires warrants to be drafted “specifically identifying the area to be searched.”

On the Internet, the Patriot Act distinguishes between transactional and content-oriented wiretaps. The issue is that it applies the same lax requirements for transactional data access to communications that are significantly more than just addresses. For example, law enforcement has viewed the “header” of an e-mail message as transactional information that can be accessed with a PR/TT warrant. However, in addition to routing information, e-mail headers include the subject line, which is part of the communication’s content – it would be clearly visible inside the envelope of a letter, for example.

  • Web addresses have a lot of information in them. The URLs, or “addresses,” of the Web pages we read are the titles of documents that we download from the Internet, not addresses. When we “visit” a Web page, we are actually downloading that page from the Internet and displaying it on our computer. As a result, the list of URLs we visit during a Web session is really a list of the documents we’ve downloaded, similar to a list of electronic books we’ve bought online. That’s a lot more information than just a list of people we’ve talked to; it’s personal information that exposes who we are and what we’re thinking about, much like the content of a phone call rather than the number phoned. After all, reading is frequently described as a “conversation” with the author.
  • A surfer’s communications are contained in web URLs.
  • The content of URLs is frequently incorporated within them.
  • A Google search, for example, results in a page with a custom-generated URL containing stuff that is clearly private content, such as:

Similarly, if I fill out an online form – for example, to purchase items or register my preferences – the resulting URL will frequently identify those things and preferences.