Privacy advocates plan to fight Congress' repeal of ISP privacy rules

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Campus Technology that a majority of Americans want the privacy provision in place to keep data about their browsing and communication habits from being sold to the highest bidder.

The canceled rule had set out to give more control to users over their online privacy, making sure that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would have to inform their users prior to sharing and collecting your online data about your behavior on Internet. Plus, some critics have suggested that using a VPN doesn't guarantee a user's privacy: Instead of a service provider tracking and selling your information, the VPN could.

Unsurprisingly, numerous lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill have received campaign donations from companies or employees of companies that stand to benefit from it ― corporations such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

Don't hold your breath for President Trump to save your Internet privacy. The resolution now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.

Speaking to a cyber-security expert, the publication reports that selling the user data that ISPs mine would be tricky since these companies usually have their own privacy policies that could prevent them from doing so.

The vote marked a victory, however, for telecommunications companies, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, of regulations passed a year ago that placed limitations on information on consumer browsing, app usage, location data, and personal account numbers. "The FCC's midnight regulation does nothing to protect consumer privacy".

She added: "If the Republicans are allowed to do this, we have surrendered all thoughts of privacy for the American people".

The regulations were approved by the FCC in the Obama Administration, and were meant to go into effect this year.

For example, search engines and social media sites, such as Google and Facebook, are regulated by less stringent Federal Trade Commission regulations, which don't require companies get users' permission to collect and sell data.

He says with the regulation now scrapped, though it would be possible in theory to go to an internet provider and buy a person's browsing history it would not work out that way in reality. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the FCC also can not issue similar regulations in the future. If you value your internet privacy and take deep offense to legislators signing away your rights for a quick donation, take note of who is on this list and make sure that they aren't re-elected the next time they ask for your vote. Beyond the obvious opportunities to put downward pressure on broadband prices through more targeted advertising, data is increasingly becoming a key fuel for innovation.

Controlling the information your ISP can track is a hard task even for more sophisticated internet users, notes Rachel Greenstadt, who runs Drexel University's Privacy, Security, and Automation Laboratory.

  • Zachary Reyes