Congressional Dems target Brian Mast for vote repealing FCC privacy rules - Florida Politics

Congressional Dems target Brian Mast for vote repealing FCC privacy rules

Several thousand voters in Florida’s 18th Congressional District will receive robocalls this week from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee questioning Republican freshman Brian Mast’s vote to repeal FCC privacy rules.

Earlier this week, Mast joined GOP House colleagues with a vote to reverse a recent Obama-era FCC privacy rule requiring internet providers to get customers’ permission before sharing their browsing history with other companies. The rules also require internet providers to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any breaches.

Last week, the Senate Senate voted 50-48 to reverse the rules in what many call a win for AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications.

What CD 18 voters began hearing Wednesday:

“Representative Mast just voted to allow internet providers, like Comcast and Verizon, to sell your sensitive personal information to other companies — all without your consent. Thanks to House Republicans, your internet browsing history, personal health and financial information and even location, can be sold to the highest bidder. Call Representative Mast to ask why she cares more about corporations than your personal privacy.”

The rule passed last October. At the time, Republican members of the FCC said that it unfairly gave websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google the ability to harvest more data than internet service providers and thus further dominating digital advertising.

Others disagreed.

“The consequences of passing this resolution are clear: broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and others will be able to sell your personal information to the highest bidder without your permission,” said California Democrat Anna Eschoo during debate of the proposal. “And no one will be able to protect you, not even the Federal Trade Commission that our friends on the other side of the aisle keep talking about.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also opposed the measure, saying companies “should not be able to use and sell the sensitive data they collect from you without your permission.”

Mast defeated Democrat Randy Perkins last November, receiving 54 percent of the vote to succeed Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy 

Murphy had announced early in 2015 that he would not for run re-election in the swing district election, instead opting to run for the U.S. Senate. Murphy held the seat for two terms after defeating Republican Allen West in 2012.

Similar robocalls will be used against approximately 14 other Republicans around the nation, mostly those in swing districts who also voted to reverse the FCC privacy rule.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.
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