Activists to target lawmakers who vote against net privacy rules


29 March, 2017

Last week we noted how the Senate voted 50-48 to kill off consumer broadband privacy protections using the Congressional Review Act - after being heavily prodded by large ISP lobbyists.

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that would require broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to protect the privacy of their customers. It is argued that if this bill is signed by Donald Trump and passed in the Assembly then it would be very hard for Federal Communications Commission to pass any other bill without changing the USA bill.

"A family's personal information shouldn't go to the highest bidder and an internet connection shouldn't come with a welcome mat for companies to walk all over without your knowledge", Schumer said. She said the rule put extensive restrictions on internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast, while leaving much less strict standards in place for edge providers like Google and Facebook.

"Getting these rules was probably the biggest win in consumer privacy in years".

The Senate's resolution, which now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, would allow broadband providers to collect and sell a "gold mine of data" about customers, said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat. As a result, ISPs would be barred from using this data, unless the consumer consented. Republicans and industry groups have blasted that discrepancy, saying it was unfair and confusing for consumers.

Broadband providers are uniquely positioned in the Internet ecosystem, with access to vast amounts of consumer data. "We reveal who we are by where we go...and there's a lot of sophisticated targeting you can do if you know a person's internet life".

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Numerous social media sites like whatsApp, Facebook, Twitter already have access to your information which is easily available to these marketers, but through this policy of killing privacy rules would go one step ahead in sharing information.

These principles are based on rules created by the Federal Trade Commission, which used to be able to punish ISPs for violating customers' privacy but is prohibited from regulating common carriers. Experts say federal law still requires broadband providers to protect customer information - but it doesn't spell out how or what companies must do.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that the FCC's privacy regulations make "the internet an uneven playing field" and stifle innovation.

Of course the ISPs were still free and clear to use this information for their own marketing/targeting, they were not allowed to sell it without permission.

While Thursday's vote doesn't mean there are any immediate changes, the measure has been slammed by online privacy advocates. All they can do is draft new proposals, yet they cannot resemble the way things are handled right now. According to the new regulations, ISPs can now sell user data to whoever they want to.

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