Your internet data may be up for sale

Republicans in the US House of Representatives followed their colleagues in the Senate with a vote to approve a resolution that uses the Congressional Review Act to prevent privacy rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission a year ago from taking effect.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is "urging people to call their Congress members - Democrat and Republican - to tell them to vote against this bill so that your privacy can be preserved".

Among other things, the rule requires Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon to get the permission of customers before their confidential information is shared or used in any way.

If the joint resolution passes its second critical vote in Congress, it just needs to be signed by President Donald Trump before going into effect.

Supporters of a repeal-which, unsurprisingly including big players in the broadband business-argue that it's unfair to place such tough restrictions on Internet providers.

More news: Who cleared Devin Nunes into the White House?

Your internet provider sees when you go to Facebook, sees when you go to Google, sees when you buy something, sees when you order a latte. "We support this step towards reversing the FCC's misguided approach and look forward to restoring a consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and deserve".

If the just-passed measure also clears the House and is signed by President Donald Trump, no future FCC could pass the broadband privacy rules again without further change to USA law.

ISPs are required to take "reasonable measures" to keep consumer data secure. To be fair, there is no way to divine the future and say what the industry will do with its trove of data.

Broadband providers are uniquely positioned in the Internet ecosystem, with access to vast amounts of consumer data. This included the ISP's collection of data INCLUDING location data, app usage, and browsing history. Flake rushed a resolution through the Senate to repeal landmark privacy protections enacted by the Federal Communications Commission. This week, the Senate voted to use the Congressional Review Act to undo those regulations and prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future - making it open season on your browsing history.

If passed by the House, this bill would allow broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others free rein to share this sensitive information with data farms and advertisers without affirmative consent. The FTC said companies don't need consent before using or sharing nonsensitive data, although customers can opt out. When you consider how much information your ISP likely has about you and your habits, the selling of this information could be detrimental. The treasure trove of data can be sold to advertisers so that they can more effectively target consumers. The Senate resolution "will take consumers out of this driver's seat and place the collection and use of their information behind a veil of secrecy".

  • Adam Floyd