On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to repeal Federal Communications Commission rules that would prevent internet service providers from selling your personal information.
There were 15 Republicans who joined Democrats in voting no, and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman from Aurora was one of them.
Here’s his statement:
“I believe the privacy of my constituents, and other internet users, is an issue where the government needs to tread very carefully. I do not believe we should permit private corporations to take advantage of our information for their use and profit. The right to privacy is embedded in the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and as a person who tries to honor our constitution, I chose to oppose the resolution as a reaffirmation in my belief in our founding document.”
As an aside, it’s interesting to see Coffman defend a right to privacy, as this is also where the Supreme Court derives the right to use contraception and get an abortion, and it’s a legal interpretation conservatives frequently dismiss.
If you’re not up to speed on internet privacy rules, Consumerist has a very accessible explanation of what just happened and what it means. Congress used the Congressional Review Act to roll back administrative rules implemented in the last months of the Obama administration that would have prevented carriers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from collecting and using sensitive information like health information, financial information, Social Security numbers and, oh, your entire browsing history and the content of your communications without your permission.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a list of the ways carriers have already used or tried to use this information, like selling your data to marketers and intercepting your searches to send traffic to sites that pay for it.
Colorado’s delegation voted like this:
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat
Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Golden Democrat
Rep. Mike Coffman, an Aurora Republican
Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican
Rep. Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican
Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican