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US Senate votes to allow ISPs to sell your web browsing history

US Senate votes to allow ISPs ...
Last week the US Senate voted to overturn rules preventing internet service providers from selling user’s web browsing data without opt-in permissions
Last week the US Senate voted to overturn rules preventing internet service providers from selling user’s web browsing data without opt-in permissions
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Last week the US Senate voted to overturn rules preventing internet service providers from selling user’s web browsing data without opt-in permissions
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Last week the US Senate voted to overturn rules preventing internet service providers from selling user’s web browsing data without opt-in permissions

Last week, the US Senate voted to overturn rules preventing internet service providers from selling user's web browsing data without opt-in permissions. The controversial vote was a major win for ISPs who were arguing that the new regulations could stifle their ability to compete in the burgeoning digital advertising marketplace.

Back in October 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under a Democratic leadership, approved a set new of privacy rules requiring ISPs get opt-in consent from customers before sharing or selling private data with third-parties.

At the time, the then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement: "Based on the extensive feedback we've received, I am proposing new rules to provide consumers increased choice, transparency and security online."

Industry and ISP lobby groups reacted strongly against the FCC's proposed regulations, arguing they placed unfair standards on ISPs when other companies like Facebook or Google are allowed to operate under different, more broader rules.

Although the 2016 regulations had not taken effect yet, the current US Senate invoked the rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overrule last year's resolution. The CRA power also prohibits any similar regulation being reissued in the future.

As we head towards a future with more connected devices dominating our lives, the repeal of these new regulations is somewhat concerning. While ISPs argue that they should have similar freedom to compete in data-driven advertising markets with sites like Facebook and Google, it is very evident that they have access to a much more significant trove of data.

From our increasingly connected cars to our digital home assistants, the customer data that runs through an ISP can be used to create personal profiles with unprecedented levels of detail.

There are easy tools that can be acquired to block the ad-tracking of Google and Facebook, or users can simply choose not to use those services. ISP level tracking, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive, and challenging for the everyday-user to avoid.

Utilizing a VPN or Tor are the only strong ways to avoid your ISP tracking your internet use. Even then, the user requires trust in their VPN source, while Tor is often regarded as solely the domain of tech-savvy users.

Looking for a VPN? Don't miss our guide to the best VPNs in 2017

Moving forward, the only thing completely clear is that it will be up to consumers to secure their private data themselves. With governmental regulations becoming less transparent and more lenient, it's up to us to become more proactive in protecting our personal information.

Source: FCC

13 comments
ChairmanLMAO
Well, the next obvious step is to take the internet to task and replace government itself with it.
Bob
It looks like the only option for privacy will be to always enter fake information and let your bot spend a few minutes randomly browsing the web every day to confuse advertisers about your true interests. People are getting really tired of laws and rules that only protect businesses and not the consumer.
the webman
As an American who did NOT vote for the current bunch of idiots running the store, I wish I could say I was surprised by this development. While politicians on both sides of the aisle are beholden to special interests, especially since the Supreme Court handed down their Citizens United ruling, the Republican Party has made it increasingly clear that their only foci are maintaining power and catering to the desires of their corporate benefactors.
JoeSez
The internet version of telemarketing should always be "opt-in," by default. The fact that the US (contrary to Europe) tends to favor commercial interests over the individual, in the name of commercial interests, is what led to telemarketing call lists (invading privacy), and seems poised to take that even further into our private lives, with this legislation. Money talks ... buys influence, at the expense of the public.
eMacPaul
I rent a VPS for a couple bucks a month. I will be installing OpenVPN server on it; screw Comcast.
DavidRogerBrown
Your exactly right,webman. Congress is bought & paid for pennies on the dollar by the 1%ers. They could care less about the American people,only their corporate party agenda. But the voters,along with closing polling places,rigging the Congressional districts and voter suppression, keeps voting the same ones back in.
mathcpat
As long as the average politician can take in $6M per year in bribes from businesses, don't hold your breath that they will protect the American public.
Stephen N Russell
No privacy for sure./
chase
Will Anonymous retaliate in mass protest...? Now that will be a movie in the making... if successful.
Daishi
I think the thought is ISP's want to monetize being able to sell your data the same way Google and Facebook are doing it now to subsidize those services (those are billion dollar companies you use for free, where does the money come from? selling you). This should be illegal but it while we are on the subject it may be time for some reflection about how much spying we are comfortable with Google doing too. Remember when privacy tools used to flag the doubleclick tracking cookie as spyware before Google bought the company? We have been trading our privacy for cheaper costs for ages.