US Senate votes to let internet providers share your web browsing history without permission

The US Senate has voted to overturn consumer-friendly internet privacy rules that would have prevented internet providers from sharing your web browsing history without permission.

The privacy rules, passed last year by the FCC, required internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to get each customer’s permission before sharing personal information like which websites they visit. But internet providers want to be able to sell that data and use it to target ads, so they’ve been vocal about opposing the rules since around the time President Trump took office.

This vote uses the Congressional Review Act, which lets Congress strike down recently passed rules by federal agencies, to block the FCC’s action. It now heads to the House, where it’ll need another vote before the rules are wiped out.

“This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers' use of social media sites and websites that often they talk for granted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said in the Senate today ahead of the vote.

What makes this reversal particularly damaging is that it won’t just undo these privacy rules, but it’ll prevent the FCC from passing similar privacy rules in the future. That means that the FCC won’t be able to pass strict privacy rules again, even if opinions change in Congress.

Assuming these rules get overturned, the FCC is going to have to formalize a new set of privacy requirements for internet providers. When that happens, it’s likely they’ll be quite similar to these rules — banning ISPs from sharing information on children or their subscribers’ health — but without the restriction on sharing general web browsing history, which is what internet providers are really up in arms about.

Republicans in both Congress and the FCC have been fighting for months to strip back these rules, asking that they be put more in line with the privacy framework established by the Federal Trade Commission. After passing its net neutrality order, the FCC took privacy enforcement away from the FTC, which is why it had to draw up its own set of restrictions. While the FCC hewed closely to the FTC’s guidelines, the few areas where it did diverge have clearly frustrated the industry they police.

Altogether, it’s just pure bad news for consumers, whose private data is about to be open for sale again.

Comments

How is this so high on the agenda I wonder?

Because it’s a boon to their corporate lords.

Exactly, gotta satisfy the corporate overlords.

They could only do it in a small window.

Limited government reach, but unlimited corporate reach? Seriously?

Trump wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to rule the country like a corporation.

Exactly. Republicans have always considered the interests of Big Business over those of the individual. We’re just a commodity to wring the last penny out of. Meanwhile, the cost of my phone and iNet plans keeps going up. Can’t wait to see what they’re next money-making scheme is.

Thanks, conservatives.

Time to get a VPN.

You should already have one if you are that worried. This doesn’t actually change anything. It strikes down new rules(from an agency that doesn’t actually have the authority or resources to enforce them).

How does VPN help on your home Wi-Fi?

All traffic is encrypted and routed through the VPN’s servers. All your ISP sees are connections to the same uninteresting servers owned by the VPN provider.

Privacy focused vpn providers won’t sell your browser history and your isp will only see the connection to a vpn.
I think if you have a choice of isps refuse to use the one that sells your info.

I already using one now

It slows down your connection.

I see a bright future for local VPN providers which will allow those who want to obfuscate to Comcast/Whatever ISP what yoru browsing habits are. Of course the key is that this VPN provider be itself committed to NOT sharing my browsing info. Maybe the Free Software Foundation could setup such a service and make a small profit out of this which could help sustain the organisation?

What’s the most effective way to voice opposition to this? Call our representatives?

Just get a VPN and forget about it.

Non-US based VPN. US based VPNs are too easy to strong arm into giving up information.

More often than not, there is nothing to give up. I kinda trust US providers tbh…

Move to a less corrupt country? Colombia maybe.

Why not use ad clickers similar to the scale of ad blocker use? If bots click on random links and ads all day, wouldn’t that make all of their data collection efforts worthless? Also reminds me of Trump’s Muslim registration proposal. If everyone is a Muslim then no one is.

^This guy fucks

Seriously, this is a great extensions and I came here to recommend the same thing.

Voting next year to kick Republicans out of both houses. But, that said, that will require your fellow American’s to actually give a flying fish and exercise their right to vote as well.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑