HR 2520

BROWSER Act of 2017


1 out of 5

05/19/2017: Referred to Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection

According to the bill's author, this bill authorizes FTC enforcement of companies in obtaining opt-in permission from consumers prior to using their sensitive information. This is a bad bill. It regulates all edge services, which is not necessary. It also erroneously equates edge services with Internet access even though they are entirely different entities.

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Not many pros here. It appears the actual purpose of this bill is a hollow publicity attempt at protecting privacy. The bill's author knows full well it will not get passed.


Edge services operate higher in the protocol stack, are wholly competitive and have a nationwide market. Internet access operates in the lower parts of the protocol stack and is not competitive, as usually only one or two providers operate in a given geographic market. The two services have different market characteristics and different features and functions, so they cannot be treated in the same way. In antitrust terms, they are different service markets with different geographic markets. Even if the bill only addressed Internet access, it would be problematic since it has a preemption clause. Each state should be able to develop its own policy under federalism principles. Privacy has traditionally been a matter for state law, not federal law, with only a few exceptions.

  • Privacy,
  • United States