Trump signs repeal of US broadband privacy rules

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing privacy regulations first mandated under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while it was under the chairmanship of Democrat Tom Wheeler previous year, according to multiple reports and an industry source.

"As we have pointed out, they have already tried numerous practices - including hijacking your searches - that they are now allowed to do thanks to the party-line vote in Congress".

"President Trump and Congress have appropriately invalidated one part of the Obama-era plan for regulating the internet", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in prepared remarks. The rule also required internet providers to take "reasonable" steps to secure data from hackers and to notify customers in the event of a breach.

"The rule departs from the technology-neutral framework for online privacy administered by the Federal Trade Commission", the White House said.

It's hard to stomach the idea that Trump, a guy with countless financial ties as well as shady and still-unknown connections to Russian Federation, thinks the American people need to disclose more of their personal information. "And the FCC rules had nothing - literally nothing - to do with these companies or their practices", Quinn wrote.

A group of lawmakers plans to introduce a bill Tuesday (April 4) that would require internet service providers to get permission from users before selling personal information such as geographic location, internet history and app usage to marketers.

The rules were approved in the final months of President Barack Obama's administration but hadn't taken effect yet. "The Commission also revises its current telecommunications privacy rules to harmonize today's privacy rules for all telecommunications carriers, and provides a tailored exemption from these rules for enterprise customers of telecommunications services other than [broadband internet]." .

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"In truth, companies that collect and use the most customer information on the internet are not the (internet service providers) but other internet companies, including operating system providers, web browsers, search engines, and social media platforms".

U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, was one of just 15 House Republicans to vote against the resolution.

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.

Per Comcast's statement, the rollback of regulations doesn't mean they'll sell customers' personal information.

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, however, says the move reverses "privacy regulations created to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies".

Mr Pai and other Republicans want a different national agency, the Federal Trade Commission, to police privacy for both broadband companies like AT&T and internet companies like Google. In their view, President Trump just evened out the playing field.

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