Published: Wed, April 05, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Trump signs bill blocking online privacy regulation


Broadband providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications will gain from the new Internet privacy rules signed by US President Donald Trump. Data such as a consumer's Web browsing history, app usage history, location details and more would have required a customer's explicit permission before companies such as Verizon and Comcast could mine the information for advertising purposes.

Just to make sure Congress understood how unnecessary and "overreaching" those Obama-era rules were, the big broadband providers paid an average of $70,779 per Senator in campaign contributions and $26,129 per House member according to followthemoney.org.

Pai is alluding to the notion that companies like Google and Facebook have the ability to sell people's personal data to advertisers, while the clarity and degree of consent is sometimes dubious.

But public interest groups, congressional Democrats, and even "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert have blasted the repeal of the rules. With the president's signature, the FCC's landmark rules to protect consumer privacy are wholly repealed and the FCC is barred from passing any "substantially similar" new rules.

"We urge state lawmakers and technology providers to look for ways to shore up individual privacy until Congress is ready to listen to the consumers who don't want to trade away their basic privacy rights in order to access the Internet", she wrote.

Comcast says they've made a commitment not to share customers' sensitive information (financial, health, and children's), without first obtaining "affirmative, opt-in consent".

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"In truth, companies that collect and use the most customer information on the internet are not the (internet service providers) but other internet companies, including operating system providers, web browsers, search engines, and social media platforms".

The vote from the Senate and House had attracted a major backlash from voters across the party lines.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is, however, supporting the repeal, saying that the privacy rules were flawed and were never implemented.

President Donald Trump just signed a bill that will roll back proposed restrictions on the sale of your private browsing information. There's a key difference for consumers, however: If you don't like the privacy practices of Facebook or Google, you can use other websites; but many communities have only one or two internet providers. Experts say federal law still requires broadband providers to protect customer information - but it doesn't spell out how or what companies must do, which is what the online privacy rule aimed to do.

"It's deeply ironic", she added, "that President Trump is expressing outrage about alleged violations of his own privacy while signing legislation that will dramatically expand government surveillance of all Americans".

IL is considering two bills, one that would allow people to find out what information internet companies have collected on them and with whom they share that information.

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