Tester Slams Congress for Allowing Internet Providers to Collect and Sell Montanans’ Web Browsing History and Personal Information

Tester: Privacy is Fundamental to our Montana Values

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today slammed Congress for passing legislation that undermines Montanans’ right to privacy and allows internet service providers to collect and sell personal data and web browsing history to private companies.

Tester warned members of Congress during a speech on the Senate floor that their vote to pass this legislation violates civil liberties and presents the latest threat to Montanans’ right to privacy. President Trump signed this bill, Senate Joint Resolution 34, into law late Monday night.

“This bill allows companies to sell your data, snoop through your search history, and track the sites you visit,” Tester said on the Senate Floor. “It allows Internet companies to profit by invading in your privacy, and it gives them the ability to collect and sell your physical location, information about your children, your social security number, and your web browsing history.”

After Congress passed Joint Resolution 34 last week, Montana Republican Representative Ryan Osmundson proposed an amendment to the state budget that blocks Internet service providers from being awarded state contracts if they collect data without a consumer’s consent.

Tester went on to tell members of Congress that Montanans have the right to question the priorities of those who supported this bill, and immediate actions is needed to protect the privacy of law-abiding Montanans.

“Everyone has a fundamental right to privacy, and the government shouldn’t be in the business of violating individual rights,” Tester added. “Especially when they are doing the bidding of big companies looking to make more profits at the expense of your privacy. I want it to be known that Montanans don’t want anyone snooping around in their private lives, neither the government nor corporations. It is fundamental to our Montana values.”

Tester has been a strong supporter of protecting Montanans civil liberties and freedom, and he is working to identify legislative solutions to restore essential privacy protections for all users of the Internet.

Tester opposed the nomination of Mike Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency Director after Pompeo advocated for resurrecting the most intrusive aspects of the PATRIOT Act, including bulk data collection.

Tester is also opposing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch in part because of Gorsuch’s past rulings that allowed the government to reach into the private lives of law-abiding Americans.