Trump signs bill blocking online privacy regulation

Both the Senate and the House moved the measure forward via the Congressional Review Act in the last couple weeks, and the Administration previously indicated it disapproved of the FCC rules.

For end users, the repeal of the law effectively maintains the status quo because it was not enacted before being shuttered, but it's worth noting that the resolution contains language preventing the FCC from enabling similar privacy rules in the future.

But beyond the increasingly creepy attempt for companies to better target advertising to consumers, some might find those aforementioned examples fairly innocuous.

Pai is alluding to the notion that companies like Google and Facebook have the ability to sell people's personal data to advertisers, while the clarity and degree of consent is sometimes dubious.

Others who support the FCC rules are trying to appeal to Trump, who has not yet signed the bill into law.

If the government believes that location data is sensitive and requires more explicit consumer disclosures and permissions, then those protections should apply to all players that have access to location data, whether an ISP or edge player or search engine. As Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) puts it, the new, altered rules of FCC "have the potential to stifle one of the most innovative sectors" of the USA economy.

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"FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's commitment to modelling the Federal Trade Commission's well-tested approach is a meaningful step toward a consistent set of privacy protections that are pro-consumer and pro-innovation". This happened because the USA internet service providers argued that the FCC's rules favored tech giants like Google and Facebook and restricted the ISPs from getting the same privileges.

On Friday, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast said they would voluntarily not sell their customers' individual web browsing information.

Providers would have been allowed share and sell non-sensitive information - such as names, IP address and anything else not on the sensitive list - under the privacy rules, but customers would have been allowed to opt-out.

Since the House vote last week, there has been renewed interest in online privacy and US web users have been searching for ways to keep their browsing habits away from prying eyes.

"We welcome President Trump's action today affirming Congress' decision to hit the reset button by stopping rules that would have created a confusing and conflicting consumer privacy framework", Jonathan Spalter, CEO of broadband industry trade group USTelecom, said in a statement.

In his own blog post, Bob Quinn, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, stressed that customers will continue to be protected under the company's privacy policies once Trump signs the bill into law. Privacy advocates claimed that without the FCC rules, consumers risked having their sensitive personal information sold to the highest bidder. "It does provide an opportunity for President Trump, however".

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