Trump signs bill blocking online privacy regulation

Just to make sure Congress understood how unnecessary and "overreaching" those Obama-era rules were, the big broadband providers paid an average of $70,779 per Senator in campaign contributions and $26,129 per House member according to followthemoney.org. But now that the rules have been struck down, the runway is open, and since the rules were repealed through the Congressional Review Act, a "substantially similar" rule can not be put in place except through the passage of a law. "We did not do it before the FCC's rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so", said Gerard Lewis, Comcast's chief privacy officer. Consumer advocates also worry that the companies will be a rich target for hackers.

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.

Well, apparently congressional Republicans and the Trump administration can.

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"A measure to roll back crucial privacy protections has crossed the finish line, and Internet users are worse off for it", the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement emailed to BuzzFeed News.

Verizon, AT&T and Comcast all insisted earlier this week that they had no plans to sell customers' browsing histories despite the repeal of the FCC's rules.

He noted the attorney general's office can prosecute companies for "unfair and deceptive actions" and the providers may have contracts with cities that contain privacy rules.

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

Most notably, the privacy rule would have prevented internet providers from using, sharing, or selling a subscriber's web browsing history without first getting their explicit permission. The ruling, scheduled to take effect later this year, would require these companies to obtain their customers' permission to collect and share information about their internet usage.

"Your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family - where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more", stated House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an interview before the vote on Tuesday. "Those flawed privacy rules, which never went into effect, were created to benefit one group of favoured companies, not online consumers". Pai announced earlier this month that the FCC would stay the implementation of the new rule, describing it as "not consistent" with the privacy framework of the Federal Trade Commission. Gigi Sohn, counselor for former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, stated that the repeal means that all these companies can now sell user data and personal information to the highest bidder without the need of users' consent, notes The Verge.

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We've spoken up, and many lawmakers got the message that privacy is important to their constituents.

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