wnol.info April 28 2017


Congress Votes to Repeal Internet Privacy Protections

April 28 2017, 02:05 | Alonzo Simpson

Privacy advocates plan to fight Congress' repeal of ISP privacy rules

Congress votes to remove Internet privacy regulations

In the final days of the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to stop internet service providers (ISP) from selling your web browsing history to third parties.

The CRA overturns rules approved by a divided FCC Oct. 27 that required ISPs to get subs' permission to share web surfing and app use info and impose data security and breach notification requirements. Under the Congressional Review Act, Internet Service Providers will continue to be subject to law which protects all customer proprietary network information, as well as many other federal and state privacy rules. The legislation now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Rep. Dan Newhouse voted to scrap the rules, along with most of his Republican counterparts.

In the 52-50 vote along party lines, Senate Republicans pushed the bill to the House where yesterday it sailed breezily to passage with another down-the-aisle vote.

Now, understand that the regulation that the Senate voted to kill was not to prevent this from being done.

But the concern goes beyond the individual websites you visit and the searches you make.

"Moving forward, I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers' online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework", Mr Pai said.

Thanks to Congress, "big Internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways", Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel for the San Francisco-based digital-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a written statement.

As on-ramps to the Internet, companies such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are privy to almost everything we do online.

EFF's Gillula suggests free privacy software called Tor, which makes your online activity anonymous.

The reversal is a win for AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, who also voted for the resolution, received $75,900 from the telecom industry in 2016, including $28,000 from those four companies. The ISP industry claims that allowing providers to use data-driven targeting could benefit consumers by leading to more relevant advertisements - that this breach of privacy will not be severe, but instead advantageous to consumers. And consumer advocates worry that the companies will be an enticing target for hackers.

"If an ISP can sell information about how many of your employees are searching for jobs right now, why would they not traffic in that?"

"As consumers, we're products, effectively, and this is taking advantage of that", Storlie said.

Before Tuesday's vote, numerous public interest groups that supported the passage of Net neutrality rules in 2015 began contacting legislators and encouraging voters to support the rules. She said if consumers don't like Google's privacy protections, they can switch to another search engine, like Bing.

Do your online habits change when you are suffering from anxiety or depression? If your reaction fell into one of those latter two groups or if you don't know what I'm referring to this is meant for you.

"It's scary", said Travis Root, a student at MSU. Insurance providers could theoretically charge someone higher rates due to browser history that indicates unsafe choices, for example.

Side-stepping that constant surveillance while trying to use the web in our daily lives is nearly unachievable, said Stamper.



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