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Legislation would reverse effects of congressional action in Maryland

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, from selling consumers’ private information. The measure would reverse the effects in the state of a congressional resolution President Donald Trump signed Monday.

Congress’s resolution reverses protections created by the Federal Communications Commission in October that have not yet taken effect. The rules would have barred internet providers from collecting or selling consumers’ information without permission.

The bill Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a Prince George’s County Democrat, introduced Tuesday would maintain those protections for Maryland residents.

But Minority Leader J.B. Jennings said the resolution Trump signed simply aligns regulations governing broadband providers with those governing search engines.

“If you think your internet information’s not being sold already, it is,” he said. “Every search engine you go onto and everything you type in there is being sold to other companies.”

The bill is sponsored by 28 Democratic senators, a majority of the Senate. The body voted to bypass certain legislative hurdles to introduce the bill on the 84th day of the 90-day session. But the legislation still needs to be rushed through committee consideration and floor votes to pass this year.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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