Trump signs bill repealing U.S. internet privacy rules

For them, the rules excluded internet companies like Facebook and Google, which could use its users' online data. The move prohibits the FCC from passing similar privacy regulations in the future.

"We welcome President Trump's action today affirming Congress' decision to hit the reset button by stopping rules that would have created a confusing and conflicting consumer privacy framework", CEO of USTelecom Jonathan Spalter said in a statement.

Two GoFundMe campaigns have raised more than US$290,000 in an effort to buy the web browsing histories of USA politicians after Congress voted to allow broadband providers to sell customers' personal information without their permission.

The rules had not yet taken effect but would have required internet providers to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing. They would have kept ISPs from selling customers' data and using new invasive ways to track and deliver targeted ads to customers.

The bill bypassed the Federal Communications Commission online privacy regulation that was issued in October to give consumers more control over how companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast share that information.

Undoing the privacy regulation will leave people's online information up for grabs.

The American Civil Liberties Union had said last month Congress should have opposed "industry pressure to put profits over privacy" and added "most Americans believe that their sensitive internet information should be closely guarded". The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that the rules would have also "required those companies to protect customers' data against hackers".

So it finally happened, to no one's surprise but against everyone's opposition: internet privacy is no more.

Ajit Pai, the agency chairman appointed by Trump, has said he wanted to roll back the broadband privacy rules.

The rules were set form by the FCC a year ago, but had actually not gone into effect yet. "Hopefully, we will soon return to a universe where thoughtful privacy protections are not overrun by shameful FCC power grabs and blatant misrepresentations".

There are a lot of invasive things that Internet service providers can do with user data.

Following the votes in Senate and the House, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon promised that they don't now sell users' browsing history and have no plans to do so in the future.

  • Leroy Wright


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