Privacy rules are now on the brink of being completely removed. The move by the U.S. Senate allows internet service providers to have complete control over customers' sensitive information, which they could use without permission.

According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration in October, ISPs are required to obtain consent from consumers first before using personal information. This includes precise geolocation, browsing history, health information, children’s information, financial information, among others.

The vote to overturn the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was along party lines, with 50 Republicans approving it and 48 Democrats against it. The two remaining Republicans were reportedly absent and did not cast votes.

Backlash over Senate decision

While ISPs such as Comcast Corp, AT&T, and Verizon Communications consider the vote a victory, open internet advocacy movement Access Now condemned it. “This resolution is a vote for big corporate profits over the rights and civil liberties of average people,” senior legislative manager Nathan White said.

Meanwhile, Public Knowledge’s Dallas Harris declared, "This vote is a clear sign that American interests come second to those of broadband providers.”

What the privacy policy could have offered

Aside from acquiring permission to access personal data from customers, the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules covers a bigger spectrum, in a sense that internet providers are responsible for reporting data compromise.

ISPs are to report the incident to the FBI within a week, while a customer should be informed within seven days.

Another advocacy group called the Consumers Union also expressed its disappointment regarding the decision. Its senior policy counselor said in a statement that the vote is synonymous to ignoring the concerns and needs of consumers, which he called a “wrong direction.”

The bill is headed to the House of Representatives, but it remains to be seen when they would take up the measure as of this writing.