US Congress Opens the Door to Sell off Private Internet Data

teleSUR | 29 March, 2017

U.S. Congress voted Tuesday to controversially repeal a number of regulations protecting internet users, which will open up the door for people’s private internet history to be openly sold off by service providing companies.

Congress voted 215-205 in favor of repealing the Obama-era regulations that required internet service providers to gain user consent before they could access private information, including a person’s information on health, internet browsing history, location data, email content and applications that people use.

The argument from ISPs and those favoring the move is about consistency, claiming that the previous rules gave massive websites like Facebook, Google and Twitter a greater opportunity to dominate digital marketing because the rules for data collection are different for websites than ISPs.Despite the repeal being passed, there was staunch opposition, including from 15 Republicans who crossed the floor to vote against the measure.

“They can use your information and sell it to the highest bidder,” warned Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo of California.

“Gutting these privacy rules won’t just allow internet service providers to spy on us and sell our personal information,” said Evan Greer, from internet rights group, Fight for the Future.

“It will also enable more unconstitutional mass government surveillance, and fundamentally undermine our cybersecurity by making our sensitive personal information vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, and foreign governments,” Greer continued.

The White House announced earlier that President Donald Trump is in favor of the change and is expected to sign the resolution into law.

Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said that Congress was “sacrificing” privacy rights to protect internet companies and argued that Trump “now has the opportunity to veto this resolution and show he is not just a president for CEOs but for all Americans.”



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