The ACLU of Massachusetts today testified in support of An Act Relative to Internet Privacy (H.3698), legislation that would fill the gap left behind when the Trump administration recently gutted online privacy regulations implemented under President Obama.

In early April, the Trump administration dismantled Obama-era Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that would have prevented internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast from selling and using sensitive customer information without explicit opt-in consent.

The Internet Privacy Act, currently before the state’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, would prohibit ISPs from collecting, using, disclosing, or permitting access to a customer’s sensitive information without opt-in consent.

“We cannot look to Washington D.C. to fix a problem it is responsible for creating,” testified Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Project for the ACLU of Massachusetts. “The burden of restoring these rights therefore falls to the states. It is our hope that legislators on both sides of the aisle in Massachusetts will make it a priority to reinstate these lost privacy rights for Massachusetts consumers.”

The ACLU expressed appreciation for the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Patricia Haddad, and also called for additions to strengthen the bill, including provisions to guarantee equal service and privacy protections for all customers, as well as enforcement mechanisms.

Protecting and expanding digital security is part of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Freedom Agenda—a blueprint for action in our communities, the Massachusetts legislature, and the courts—to address new and ongoing federal threats to civil rights and liberties.

To read the written testimony, click here.

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