President Donald Trump on Monday signed a bill into law that opens the door to internet providers selling information about their customers' browsing habits.
Ajit Pai, FCC chairman, has said he wanted to roll back the broadband privacy rules.
Privacy advocates argue that the same rules do not apply for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and technology companies because ISPs are fundamental for accessing the internet.
Reuters says, Congress is now forced to govern the websites with a less restrictive set of privacy rules. "Without these protections in place, we are at greater risk of having deeply personal and revealing information breached or used in a discriminatory way", the American Civil Liberties Union said last month in an official blog post. "And we need to end the uncertainty and confusion that was created in 2015 when the FCC intruded in this space". The online privacy rules would have limited the ability of home and mobile broadband providers to share or sell customers' data without their permission. The bill removes protections that were approved by the FCC in the final days of the Obama administration but had not yet gone into effect.
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"The only people in the United States who want less Internet privacy are CEOs and lobbyists for giant telecom companies, who want to rake in money by spying on all of us and selling the private details of our lives to marketing companies", said Greer. In this case, they complained that under the FCC regulation, internet service providers did not have to ask their users for permission before tracking the sites they visit, while other tech firms did have to ask for explicit permission to use their customers' data.
Some of the Congress is also of the opinion that the ISP's will sell personal data to the highest bidder.
But Republicans argued that the rules were confusing to consumers and unfair to internet providers. It would also have required ISPs to let users opt out of sharing less-sensitive information (including your name, address, IP address, and subscription level).
She added: "President Trump has misjudged his base on this issue". If they do, "we absolutely want to get consent from the users" before companies market or sell private data, he said.
Surprisingly, Trump said that "no computer is safe" when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new skepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to worldwide relations back on January 1st, 2017. For now, phone and cable companies remain subject to federal law that imposes on broadband providers a "duty to protect the confidentiality" of customer information and restricts them from using some customer data without "approval".