Published: Mon, April 03, 2017
Business | By Patricia Jimenez

What the death of broadband privacy rules means


The House voted 215 to 205 in favor of striking the regulations, following the Senate's resolution to do so last week.

Earlier this month, two dozen Republican senators filed a joint resolution to cancel the new privacy rules imposed on Internet service providers and to prevent the FCC from taking similar action in the future. The White House said President Donald Trump supported the repeal measure. But broadband providers said the rule favoured certain companies.

Comcast Corp said Friday it would not sell customers' individual internet browsing information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules. A quote from Rep. Kevin Brady, the Republican chairman of the committee, in defense of the rationale to keep these returns from public review stated, "Civil liberties and privacy are still rights worth protecting, and I intend to protect them all". He said that because the FCC, which regulates ISP differently than the FTC did, the rule creates a "false sense of privacy".

"Click through that privacy policy, figure out what the collection processes are, and either change your preferences from within that website, or decide you're going to take your business elsewhere, that's still an option for consumers", Luehr said.

No information has been released about when President Trump will sign the bill or when the bill would take effect.

VPNs cloak a customer's web-surfing history by making an encrypted connection to a private server, which then searches the Web on the customer's behalf without revealing the destination addresses.

Uber self-driving cars back on the road after crash
The driver of the other vehicle was not injured either, but the accident draws attention to the tightrope Uber has been walking. Uber said it is investigating the incident, adding that there were no passengers in the back seat of the self-driving vehicle .

The main concern is that with websites like Facebook and Google, users can opt out of such tracking, which would not be the case with the internet service providers.

A regulatory rollback could provide ISPs like Comcast and Verizon with a "meaningful" opportunity to close the gap on Google's and Facebook's dominance of the online advertising marketplace, according to James Dix, senior vice president of equities research at Wedbush Securities.

"This means you should be very skeptical of any GoFundMe projects to buy this data", he wrote on a Reddit post. Sonic, a California-based broadband provider, offers a free VPN service to its customers so they can connect to its network when they are not home. Telecom companies argue that companies like Google already see the same information but are unregulated.

While users can choose to avoid sites that collect their information, it's not as simple a choice when it comes to internet providers.

The resolution now goes to President Trump's desk. "We did not do it before the FCC's rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so".

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