Trump signs bill blocking online privacy regulation

President Trump on Monday signed a resolution that scuttles a set of privacy rules adopted by the FCC a year ago, including requirements that internet providers obtain consumers' consent before sharing or selling their browsing information and other data. Today's action comes after Senate and House voting where Republicans voted to repeal these privacy rules that were issued by the FCC under Obama.

The bill used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to prevent the FCC regulations from going into effect as well as prevent the agency from implementing similar rules in the future as well.

President Trump and Congress have appropriately invalidated one part of the Obama-era plan for regulating the Internet.

But beyond the increasingly creepy attempt for companies to better target advertising to consumers, some might find those aforementioned examples fairly innocuous.

"The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help", said Texas Sen.

In separate announcements, Verizon and Comcast vowed to protect client privacy and avoid enhancing their own profits by monitoring the internet habits of clients and selling the data to advertisers. As Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) puts it, the new, altered rules of FCC "have the potential to stifle one of the most innovative sectors" of the United States economy. "Without these rules, broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast are free to sell browsing history and other sensitive data without consumer consent". By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama's administration.

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When this bill gets signed, online users searches will be seen as the property of the internet provider. Three major ISPs - Verizon, AT&T and Comcast - have spoken out to indicate that they have no intention of selling customer information.

But Republicans argued that the rules were confusing to consumers and unfair to internet providers.

The bill blocks internet providers' ability to collect identifiable, personal information without the customer's permission.

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, however, says the move reverses "privacy regulations created to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies".

With the bill now signed into law, that's the only real solution if people want to claw back their privacy. Most Americans "believe that their private information should be just that - private", they wrote. Pai announced earlier this month that the FCC would stay the implementation of the new rule, describing it as "not consistent" with the privacy framework of the Federal Trade Commission. Experts say federal law still requires broadband providers to protect customer information - but it doesn't spell out how or what companies must do, which is what the online privacy rule aimed to do.

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