Monday, April 10, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - Making Your Internet Life LESS Safe

"Before you lament the end of your internet privacy, read this" by Iman Smith, PBS NewsHour 3/31/2017

aka "Selling Your Private OnLine Habits"


Top Republicans pushed a measure through the House on Tuesday that overturns Obama-era regulations intended to protect consumers' data from being shared with advertisers without consent.  If you're reading this story on a computer or internet-connected device, that obviously includes you.

The bill, which passed 215-205 in the House, pulls back legislation passed by Congress in 2016.  Originally proposed by the Federal Communications Commission, the measure would have broadened FCC privacy rules so they also applied to broadband internet service providers.  In other words, it required companies like AT&T, Verizon and others to get consent from customers like you before sharing (or selling) your personal data and web browsing history with advertisers.

A companion bill passed 50-48 last week in the Senate.  President Donald Trump signed the bill Monday.

Now, before you lament the end of your internet privacy — take a deep breath.

As Wired reporter Klint Finley told the NewsHour, those FCC rules never actually went into effect, meaning technically, Tuesday's measure doesn't change anything.  The rules to protect customer data were passed in October of last year but wouldn't have taken effect until December 2017, Finley said.  So the bill passed on Tuesday simply blocks those rules from taking effect, Finley said.

That said, Tuesday's measure does create some wrinkles in the debate over consumer privacy in the rapidly growing Internet of Things.  Namely, the measure blocks the FCC not only from implementing the 2016 rules, but pursuing others like them.

“Mostly it means that internet service providers now have the go-ahead to sell data,” Finley explained.  “It was already technically legal, but if any companies were holding off on doing it while they waited to see if the laws went into effect or not, they don't have to wait anymore.”

"How will a new law blocking internet privacy rules affect you?" PBS NewsHour 4/4/2017


SUMMARY:  New legislation signed by President Trump blocks the implementation of internet privacy rules that would have stopped service providers from collecting and selling information about your web browsing to advertisers without your permission.  William Brangham gets two views from Gigi Sohn of the Open Society Foundations and Scott Cleland, chairman of

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