While everybody was busy discussing how disastrous the GOP health care plan (aka Trumpcare) had turned out, House Republicans quietly voted to take away your internet privacy.
And they might just be successful in doing that. Here’s how:
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively blocks a 2016 internet privacy rule from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called, "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services".
The bill passed in a 215-205 vote today with Republicans overwhelmingly voting in favor of repealing the broadband privacy rules.
The soon-to-be blocked FCC would have required ISPs — companies like Comcast and Verizon — to get your consent before selling personal consumer data to advertisers.
Now, that won’t happen.
“The FCC didn’t embrace a technology-neutral framework for privacy,” Jon Leibowitz, co-chair of the industry group 21st Century Privacy Coalition, told reporters in the wake of the House vote.
“It instead set out an overbroad definition of sensitive data that doesn’t apply to non-ISP’s collecting as much or more personal data online. And as we all know, privacy shouldn’t be about who collects information, it should be about what information is collected and how it is used.”
Now, cable companies and wireless providers could have greater access to: your browsing history, shopping habits, your apps, even your location – and they could sell it all to the highest bidder.
Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, “worries that personal data could be used for discriminatory advertising practices, like showing ads for high-interest loans only to low-income consumers, or prices for products that vary based on the user's income information. Super targeted ads ‘don't always benefit the consumer,’” BBC reported.
The assault on privacy is part of a larger Republican plan to overturn net neutrality – the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally.
President Donald Trump could veto the resolution. However, that’s highly unlikely considering his anti-net neutrality views.
Be prepared to bid adieu to your online privacy.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kacper Pempel