Senate votes to kill broadband privacy rules

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It was a narrow decision, as 50 Republicans supported the measure while 48 Democrats voted against it. The Senate has just voted to kill those protections, before they went into effect.

The rules would have forced internet providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask customers' permission before using or selling their personal information. No longer satisfied with being mere conduits to the Web, these companies increasingly view the information they collect as a source of revenue. The telecom industry lobbyists suggested that the FCC should just adopt the FTC's privacy rules for the sake of consistency.

Trump's America is already a risky place for people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and women.

"Similarly, Dallas Harris, a policy fellow for the consumer group Public Knowledge, said: "[Obama's] were the strongest online privacy rules to date, and this vote is a huge step backwards in consumer protection writ large.

A privacy advocate confirmed his understanding was a vote in the Senate was likely this week.

This will all be in President Donald Trump's hands if the House votes to overturn the rules.

However, while so much has been said about tech companies' access to data, they can never have access to the kind of data that ISPs have, as everything flows through their networks.

The relaxing of privacy rules for these internet service providers (ISPs) repeals Obama-era regulations setting a higher bar for ISPs to protect customers' privacy than websites. Republicans and industry groups have blasted that discrepancy, saying it was unfair and confusing for consumers. "In a world where everything is increasingly digital, now there will be no rules preventing ISPs from selling your web browsing history without your permission - covering everything from the apps you use to your smarthome devices".

Needless to say, the NCTA-The Internet & Television Association was elated about the bill's passage in the Senate.

The privacy rules, which were passed by the FCC last year under the Obama Administration and due to go into effect later this year, were created to protect data on consumers' web browsing habits collected from their smartphones and computers. The act lets Congress overturn new federal regulations with a simple majority instead of the standard three-fifths vote.

The resolution will now go to the House. That means that the FCC won't be able to pass strict privacy rules again, even if opinions change in Congress.

"The FCC should have made sure that its regulatory approach matched the [Federal Trade Commission]'s framework", Pai said, according to NPR.

Of course, Google and Facebook already track you.

Home Internet providers can also "build a profile about your listening and viewing habits", while mobile broadband providers "know how you move about your day through information about your geolocation and Internet activity through your mobile device", he said.