As internet privacy remains a hot-button issue around the world, the Wisconsin state Senate unanimously passed a recent amendment April 4 aimed at reshaping internet usage and protections.
This proposed legislation, known as Senate Amendment 13, prohibits internet service providers from collecting internet users’ personal information without expressed, written consent from the customer, Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said in a statement.
“These new safeguards will ensure that customers, not out-of-state corporations, have the final say in how their personal information and internet data is shared,” Shilling said.
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The amendment, introduced in April, will also protect people from having their personal data tracked, stored and sold by internet service providers, according to the statement.
Internet service access is defined as sending messages and information through services such as local, toll and wide-area telephone services or specialized mobile radio, according to a Wisconsin Legislative Council Amendment Memo.
The amendment was part of Senate Bill 49, which was introduced in February, and has yet to pass.
According to the amendment, internet service providers and telecommunication companies cannot deny service to someone who refuses to approve the collection of their personal data.
“Thanks to our quick action in the Senate, children, families and seniors in Wisconsin will have the opportunity to protect their personal information,” Shilling said.
A group of senators including Shilling, Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, introduced the amendment.
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Several other states, including Illinois and California, took quick action to restore internet privacy rights after Republicans in Congress repealed consumer privacy protections, according to the statement.
Sen. Howard L. Marklein, R-Spring Green, made another amendment to the bill, changing the wording of Bill 49 for additional clarification. This wording change expanded consumer privacy protection to unserved areas.
The bill originally defined an“unserved area” as an area in the state unable to receive internet services with speeds within 20 percent of high-speed, switched broadband, Marklein said. But Marklein’s amendment changed the definition from “high-speed, switched broadband telecommunications” to “advanced telecommunications.”
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The Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues advocated for the acceptance of Amendment 13 and the progression of Bill 49. Both of their requests were passed unanimously, Shilling said.
“I’m glad that Democrats were able to protect Wisconsin families and prevent out-of-state corporations from profiting off big data collection and invasive internet surveillance,” Shilling said.