Congress sends White House repeal of broadband privacy rules

04 April 2017, 04:58 | Andres Norman

The vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to allow internet providers to share personal information with advertisers and other third parties without consumer consent was supported by major providers, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

Proponents of the bill, expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, explain that FCC regulations perpetuate fear, instead of provide privacy.

"Overwhelmingly, the American people do not agree with Republicans that this information should be sold, and it certainly should not be sold without your permission", she said. The rule would have prohibited Internet service providers from selling the browsing history of their customers.

Some privacy advocates said they will encourage the European Union to re-examine Privacy Shield, an agreement that allows companies to move customer data between the EU and the US, in light of the congressional vote on the ISP privacy rules. Republicans and industry groups have blasted that discrepancy, saying it was unfair and confusing for consumers.

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Supporters say federal laws and company policies will remain in place to protect consumer's personal information, but how much protection you have is now up for debate. That's why we need the FCC's privacy rules: "ISPs are in a position of power, and they've shown they're willing to abuse that power". If Trump signs the resolution to oust FCC in the internet privacy regulation, ISPs could directly sell their consumers' app usage histories and personal data to advertising companies even without customer consent.

Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that helped organize protests for net neutrality, is planning to put up billboards naming the legislators who voted to repeal. "The best way to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers' privacy practices to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area".

Now that both houses of Congress have voted to block Obama-era broadband privacy rules, what does that mean for you? In doing so, the rule departs from the technology-neutral framework for online privacy administered by the Federal Trade Commission.

But rather than apply similar protections to more businesses, the Republican-controlled Congress voted to scrap the rules entirely. Republicans repeatedly discounted the privacy benefits generated by the rule. They should be able to do so without fear that their Internet service providers are logging their activities and selling the data. They're usually used to protect sensitive data. "They are going to sell it to the underwear companies". "Consumers would have no privacy rules".



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