Obama-era online privacy rule overturned by Congress

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".

If the president signs this, it means any data that goes through that little black box with the flashing lights is fair game. "I don't want anyone to take my information and sell it to someone and make a ton of money off of it just because they can get their mitts on it". "There should not be one standard for internet service providers and another for other online companies".

Thanks to House Republicans, internet service providers can sell your personal information to advertisers without your permission. The federal regulatory body's newly appointed chairman Ajit Pai, an Indian American, welcomed the vote and promised to work with another federal regulatory body to protect consumers' online privacy.

But rather than apply similar protections to more businesses, the Republican-controlled Congress voted to scrap the rules entirely.

Search engines and streaming sites already collect such data but providers have a far broader view of online behaviour.

It's the first step toward allowing internetproviders such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of rules overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

If you don't think you can switch your provider and you're of a more technical bent, consider a virtual private network, or VPN, service.

The US Senate voted along party lines to repeal the protections, and the House of Representatives affirmed the decision, which will prevent the regulations from coming into effect. The more data these companies hoard about users, the more unsafe it can be for a user's safety in a case of a data breach.

Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, "worries that personal data could be used for discriminatory advertising practices, like showing ads for high-interest loans only to low-income consumers, or prices for products that vary based on the user's income information".

Lawmakers speaking against the bill claim that former President Barack Obama's October rules provided consumers additional privacy.

  • Arturo Norris