House sends bill to Trump blocking online privacy regulation

A lock icon signifying an encrypted Internet connection is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in
Thomson Reuters
Author

04 April, 2017

United States lawmakers voted Tuesday to roll back rules that would block internet service providers from selling user data to third parties, following a heated debate over privacy protections.

"The Administration strongly supports House passage of S.J.Res. 34, which would nullify the Federal Communications Commission's final rule titled "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services", 81 Fed".

"Our broadband providers know deeply personal information about us and our families".

Republicans and industry groups have criticised that discrepancy, calling it unfair and confusing for consumers.

Supporters say federal laws and company policies will remain in place to protect consumer's personal information, but how much protection you have is now up for debate.

One critic of the repeal, Mr Craig Aaron, president of Free Press advocacy group, said major Silicon Valley firms shied away from the fight over the rules because they profit from consumer data. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules overseen by the Federal Trade Commission. "In my view, the best way to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers' privacy practices to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area".

WASHINGTON, D.C. -On Tuesday, Congress moved forth in finalizing its overturn of some of the most significant online privacy protections in a 215-2015 vote drawing itself along party lines. The American Civil Liberties Union urged Trump to veto the resolution, appealing to his populist side.

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Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will revoke the Clean Power Plan introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 to restrict greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired USA power plants.

They may have failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, but President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are having some success at rolling back regulations in an effort to make life easier for businesses. The regulation would prohibit ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast from sharing that data without getting explicit content from consumers via an "opt-in" agreement.

"They no longer have the freedom to decide how to control their own information", said Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. Also, many customers don't have more than one or two choices for broadband, reducing the possibility for privacy-friendly competition, Engadget said. Approved a year ago, the rules required that ISPs get your explicit permission before selling "sensitive data" like your browsing history.

The privacy rules were meant to give consumers extra control over their personal data online at a time when everything from smartphones to refrigerators can be connected to the Internet.

In the absence of strong privacy rules, people will have to rely on encryption to prevent service providers from tracking them.

Instead, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation suggests you might pay to use a virtual private network, which funnels your internet traffic through a secure connection that your provider can't see into.


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