What the Death of Broadband Privacy Rules Means

Both companies made these statements a few days after the House of Representatives passed a resolution that would prevent tougher Federal Communications Commission rules on data collection from taking effect. The rule would have prohibited Internet service providers from selling the browsing history of their customers.

Another campaign, started by Misha Collins of Los Angeles, has raised more than $81,000 toward a goal of publicizing the internet history only of lawmakers who voted in favor of killing the FCC privacy rules.

The repeal of the rule doesn't necessarily mean your browsing history is up for bids.

"The Administration strongly supports House passage of S.J.Res. 34, which would nullify the Federal Communications Commission's final rule titled "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services", 81 Fed". The rules would have required Internet service providers to get your permission before collecting and sharing your data.

Given the House barely passed the bill 215-205, with 15 Republicans crossing the aisle to join Democrats in opposition, and the Senate passed the bill 50-48, an override would be unlikely. The second part would have specified that if a company wants to share or sell "sensitive" information, they need explicit consent from their customers to do so.

That means providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to track, collect and sell everything you do online.

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The Senate voted along party lines to undo the rules last week.

Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, "worries that personal data could be used for discriminatory advertising practices, like showing ads for high-interest loans only to low-income consumers, or prices for products that vary based on the user's income information". But broadband providers said the rule favoured certain companies.

Although customers could choose to abandon their provider, privacy activists say there is often little choice within a specific geographical area.

She says the company doesn't sell consumer information now and it won't in the future.

But it doesn't spell out how companies must get permission, how they must protect your data, or whether and how they have to tell you if it's been hacked. He went on to add, "At the end of the day, the willingness of the FCC and the FTC to use their authority effectively is what will determine whether the consumers are protected". That information would be particularly useful for advertisers and marketers.

  • Rita Burton