Cable Operators and Telecoms Score Victory in House Vote on Privacy Rules

07 April, 2017, 07:54 | Author: Leticia Walters

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to repeal internet privacy protections approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October by the Obama administration.

On the other hand, the Senate voted 50 to 48, with lawmakers voting along party lines too.

The measure now awaits President Donald Trump's signature to become law. "Those in support of this stripping of privacy rights have even filed with the FCC attempting to claim that web history and app data usage information is not sensitive information". It also allows ISPs to use and share other information, including email addresses and service tier information, unless a customer "opts-out". Technically, ISPs have always been able to do this, but the rules would've changed that in favor of consumer privacy.

"The Federal Communications Commission rule issued in October was created to give consumers greater control over how internet service providers share information", the Associated Press reported.

Republican representative Michael Burgess said the repeal of the privacy laws would "level the playing field for an increasingly anti-competitive market".

Greer tells Newsweek that Fight for the Future plans to put up billboards with the names of every member of Congress who voted to repeal the FCC's broadband privacy rules.

Slate's piece added that it's not just privacy at stake: "Some proponents of the FCC regulation argued that allowing ISPs to keep track of and sell consumers' data exposes their information to more security threats".

"They're getting emails, they're getting phone calls, they're getting text messages, geo-location information, everything". "Why should you know what size I take, or the color, or any of that information?"

"It does provide an opportunity for President Trump", the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit organization, said in a statement Tuesday.

People are not even aware of how and when their data is being collected and shared with advertisers. And ISPs can sell data to the highest bidder without users' permission. But switching providers is often hard, as is hiding your Internet activity from your Internet provider. Those Internet companies are not regulated by the FCC but are increasingly in competition with telecommunications companies for online-streaming customers. Sophisticated users might increasingly rely on virtual private networks, which are used by corporations to let their employees log into secure systems remotely, and other tools to mask their activities, but most Americans are unlikely to be conversant with such tricks of the trade. One service, NordVPN, says it has seen a "sharp increase" in consumer interest in the days since the Senate vote.

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