Today the US House votes to repeal online privacy rules, last chance to protect your browsing...

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William Gayde

Posts: 380   +5
Staff member

Following a narrow win in the Senate last week, the US House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday to repeal the FCC's online privacy rules. The bill was passed in the Senate along a Republican party-line vote. If H. J. Res. 86 passes the House, President Trump is expected to sign it as well.

The bill protects consumers and their online presence. If repealed, ISPs will be able to sell your browsing history and other personal information to whoever they want. Another clause in the repeal states that the FCC will not be able to adopt "substantially similar" rules in the future. To put it simply, ISPs will sell your online information without your permission, you won't be able to stop them, and future legislation to protect you again won't come easy.

While this is a win for large telecom companies thanks to their friends in Congress, it is a major blow to personal rights and privacy advocates. If you find out a website or business is selling your personal information for profit, it's easy for you to not go there again. With ISPs, it's much harder.

The current bill (which is new and not scheduled to be in effect until December 4, 2017) offers the strongest protection to consumers. The FCC would require ISPs to inform customers about what type of data is collected, how it is used, and with whom it is shared. ISPs would have to explicitly obtain a customer's permission to use or share personal information like health data, browsing history, and Social Security numbers. Customers must be able to easily opt-out of any information sharing with the ISP. On the security side, providers must promptly notify customers and law enforcement officials of any breach and take steps to keep data secure.

These all sound like no-brainers, but ISPs have been unhappy with them for years.

These legal changes originate from the FCC's decision to reclassify home and mobile ISPs as common carriers. This allowed the FCC to impose net neutrality rules, but it also stripped the Federal Trade Commission's authority over ISPs, including those about violating customers' privacy.

The laws hold ISPs to more stringent regulations than other web corporations like Google, known as "edge" companies. What isn't easy to understand is how repealing the regulations would benefit anyone other than the ISPs themselves. Google and other edge companies only know your information if you opt to use their services. ISPs on the other hand know everything you do since all of your traffic is directed through them, and depending on where you live, you may not get more than one or two ISPs to choose from.

When voters showed that they didn't want the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Congress responded and the vote didn't pass. A VPN company recently purchased a full page New York Times ad opposing the bill (see below).

The ETF has a simple page detailing your rights and what would go away if the bill was passed. They, along with Free Press also have forms you can send to your representative to show your support for keeping the current protections.

Editor's Note: The story has been updated to include an important omission. FCC's privacy rules and the current bill that may be repealed is not yet into effect. Years prior consumers were protected to an extent because carriers were still under control of the Federal Trade Commission. For a detailed read on the full effects of the bill, repeal and a little history on how the rules have changed go to this article on Ars Technica.

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Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442
If TechSpot is going to blatantly promote their political stance, at least properly represent the legislation please.I don't mind different opinions, but when you leave out facts to create a heavily biased and misrepresented argument, it's exclusionary detailing.

ISPs will not be able to sell your individual personal information by itself. This is why you can't create a crowd funding campaign to buy the search history of your congress person. Please TechSpot, don't stoop to the level of low class news sites. Please stay above that and continue to report more than one side of the story.
 

pit1209

Posts: 153   +259
If TechSpot is going to blatantly promote their political stance, at least properly represent the legislation please.I don't mind different opinions, but when you leave out facts to create a heavily biased and misrepresented argument, it's exclusionary detailing.

ISPs will not be able to sell your individual personal information by itself. This is why you can't create a crowd funding campaign to buy the search history of your congress person. Please TechSpot, don't stoop to the level of low class news sites. Please stay above that and continue to report more than one side of the story.

Ok, can you please enlighten us with the other side of this bill, where we can see in which way is going to be positive and much better than the current one instead of helping the big corporations?
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,214   +1,467
If TechSpot is going to blatantly promote their political stance, at least properly represent the legislation please.I don't mind different opinions, but when you leave out facts to create a heavily biased and misrepresented argument, it's exclusionary detailing.

thanks for beating me to it. When I read this...
When voters showed that they didn't want the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Congress responded and the vote didn't pass.
My mouth literally dropped open. This statement is 100% fiction. The repeal didn't pass because the super right wingers didn't get ENOUGH. They wanted a 100% repeal, not a partial repeal. (I'll give TS the benefit of the doubt though and just blame this on the author.)


Ok, can you please enlighten us with the other side of this bill, where we can see in which way is going to be positive and much better than the current one instead of helping the big corporations?

No problem. Here's the first interesting fact I learned about this bill they are going to repeal. It's not in effect yet. It was passed last Oct, but it's not yet in effect. So all those right's you'll be 'losing', you don't even have. Did you even notice?

Next: The bill they are repealing states that ISPs must ask you before sharing your information. ISPs could still collect it, they would just have to specifically ask you before they sell it. This means the fine print you agree to when you sign up would probably just be a few lines longer, and why the republicans called it 'unnecessary'. Cause your stuff would be sold anyway, just like it is right now.

As for preventing any laws like this in the future? This is good. No one elected anyone at the FCC, and they shouldn't be given free reign to make policy - no matter who is running the place - the right or the left.

So why are the democrats freaking out (see above story) because it's such awesome optics! Look at the quotes from the left -
The little privacy we have left, the kind that enshrines our personal emails, our health information, our finances and even the websites our kids visit, must not be made available to everyone and anyone.
-Chuck Schumer.
He even plays the 'Save our Kids' card!!! How can you not vote for someone who's protecting our kids?!
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,911   +4,154
If TechSpot is going to blatantly promote their political stance, at least properly represent the legislation please.I don't mind different opinions, but when you leave out facts to create a heavily biased and misrepresented argument, it's exclusionary detailing.

thanks for beating me to it. When I read this...
When voters showed that they didn't want the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Congress responded and the vote didn't pass.
My mouth literally dropped open. This statement is 100% fiction. The repeal didn't pass because the super right wingers didn't get ENOUGH. They wanted a 100% repeal, not a partial repeal. (I'll give TS the benefit of the doubt though and just blame this on the author.)


Ok, can you please enlighten us with the other side of this bill, where we can see in which way is going to be positive and much better than the current one instead of helping the big corporations?

No problem. Here's the first interesting fact I learned about this bill they are going to repeal. It's not in effect yet. It was passed last Oct, but it's not yet in effect. So all those right's you'll be 'losing', you don't even have. Did you even notice?

Next: The bill they are repealing states that ISPs must ask you before sharing your information. ISPs could still collect it, they would just have to specifically ask you before they sell it. This means the fine print you agree to when you sign up would probably just be a few lines longer, and why the republicans called it 'unnecessary'. Cause your stuff would be sold anyway, just like it is right now.

As for preventing any laws like this in the future? This is good. No one elected anyone at the FCC, and they shouldn't be given free reign to make policy - no matter who is running the place - the right or the left.

So why are the democrats freaking out (see above story) because it's such awesome optics! Look at the quotes from the left -
The little privacy we have left, the kind that enshrines our personal emails, our health information, our finances and even the websites our kids visit, must not be made available to everyone and anyone.
-Chuck Schumer.
He even plays the 'Save our Kids' card!!! How can you not vote for someone who's protecting our kids?!
WOW!
So we have no right to our personal data, and we have no right to be able to say NO to anyone selling it. Therefore, we do not deserve it, right?
No wonder why you responded the way you did. You have no right over anything in the business world because congress has not enacted a law giving you such a right! Brilliant reasoning! I wish I would have thought of that. We can all just go f ourselves when it comes to our own personal data. We can all let our ISPs hijack our browsing and let them send us to sites we could care less about. Yes, that's the ticket. We have nothing better to do than let our ISPs rule our lives.

When you p!ss yourself because you are not getting where you wanted to go on the internet, remember this post. And Oh, by the way, if you think a VPN is totally going to get you around this, think again. But since you seem to know so much about the issue, including the fact that we have no rights on the internet, I'll leave you to find that out for yourself. Honestly, I doubt you have as much grasp of the issue as you think you do. Did you even bother to go to the link in the article, or are you really that all-knowing and omnipotent?

Techspot, I, for one, EXPECT you to continue to let us know how the US govt is becoming more and more like the govt in Orwell's 1984.
 
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Julio Franco

Posts: 8,778   +1,677
Staff member
Editor's Note: The story has been updated to include an important omission. FCC's privacy rules and the current bill that may be repealed is not yet into effect. Years prior consumers were protected to an extent because carriers were still under control of the Federal Trade Commission.
 

JudasSheep

Posts: 96   +76
Either post a link to the actual bill or do not report on it. This article is an opinion piece about how the author and others have interpreted the bill. Not only does the author not post a link directly to the bill so we can form our own decisions, the author tries to steer you against it by showing a picture by another news outlet who is obviously biased. There has to be more to it, if no Democrats are in favor of it then something in the bill is against their agenda. I smell bullsh*t.

Everyone is worried about their data being sold by ISPs.... Got news for you. Your info is already in the hands of foreign governments, hackers and anyone else who wants it. If our Gov gave a rats *** about us, they would be making companies protect our data better. They would hold them accountable for the breeches. Cry all you want about this, but I bet there is more to it than ONE side is letting on.
 
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