House pulls the plug on internet privacy rules

The Senate voted by 50-48 to reverse the ruling, meaning the House of Representatives - which also has a Republican majority - must follow suit before it can be rubberstamped by President Donald Trump.

Jeff Flake, a Republican Senator from Arizona said the privacy ruling was "unnecessary, confusing and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the internet".

The U.S. Senate has voted along party lines to allow internet providers such as Comcast and AT&T to sell consumer's personal information to advertisers without their consent.

Facebook and Google are now held to different standards because they're regulated by the Federal Trade Commission while internet providers are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.

We urge pro-consumer members of the House of Representatives to heed the appeals of pro-privacy and pro-security advocates and resist efforts to gut these critically important consumer protections. Internet providers, on the other hand, charge for their services, and enjoy virtual monopolies in many parts of the country, leaving many customers with no other choice except to pay up or not have Internet access at all.

The Senate voted to roll back broadband privacy regulations that prevent internet providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T from collecting and selling users' private information. "Consumers have a right to control how these companies use their sensitive data". To be fair, there is no way to divine the future and say what the industry will do with its trove of data.

Before the FCC gained privacy authority over broadband providers past year as part of its net neutrality rules, those companies did not have to get permission to use or share any data.

Under the regulations, cable and wireless companies that offer broadband service would need customer approval to share all but nonsensitive data. They're hopeful that the House will have a different view, given that several House Republicans favor online privacy.

Schumer made the case that by overturning the broadband privacy rules, companies will be able to learn more about an individual's identity and track personal habits. Telecom companies argue that companies like Google know far more about users than they do.

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. The EFF has an article on how changing these rules would allow companies to begin a fresh assault on consumer data protection or go back to a number of practices they are now not allowed to do.

But such nonsensitive information is limited - most customer data would be considered sensitive under the FCC's definitions.

They sell it to advertisers. They'll be allowed to collect your browsing history, hijack your search results, insert unwanted advertisements, and sell your data to marketers.

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