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Congress Might Let Your ISP Sell Your Browser History, No Seriously

Republicans introduced legislation attacking common-sense FCC requirements that safeguard consumer data.

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Back in October of 2016, the FCC adopted new rules that regulate Internet Service Providers.

Mark Van Scyoc / Via

The rules would allow people to decide if they wanted their information to be sold to other companies. It also provided control over exactly what data is used, and how it's used by broadband providers.

The most popular part of the new FCC rules was the required customer opt-in for any third-party data sharing to occur.

It required the explicit consent of customers before sharing or selling any of the following information:

* Social Security numbers

* Web browsing history

* Geo-location data

* Financial and health information

* Children's information

* App usage history

* Content of communications

But sadly, Republicans want to take that away too. Specifically, this guy, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. His last name makes me think he's unreliable.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP / Via

Only a Flake would actually spin a story that makes ISPs victims of consumer privacy, tbh.

Senator Flake says that the FCC's regulations are "unnecessary," "confusing," and "innovation-stifling."


Exactly how is requiring explicit permission for sharing your browsing history confusing? It's not. People just really, *REALLY* hate asking for permission. Especially corporations and governments.

I would be unhappy if my own mother saw such detailed, and quite frankly, invasive, records of online activity. I don't want someone else making money on that. Especially not AT&T. Hell no.

The worst part is that if actually passes, it'll be hard to fix.


Republicans plan to terminate the FCC’s regulation of ISPs with the Congressional Review Act. This power allows Congress to reverse recently passed rules with a simple majority in both houses. Reversal under the CRA would prevent the FCC from being able to provide similar regulations in the future.

But people are fighting. Nonprofits like the ACLU, the EFF, and others in the privacy community are speaking out against the congressional changes.

Steve Kilar with the Arizona ACLU is concerned. “Action with congressional approval would prevent the FCC from ever again passing substantially similar rules to protect consumer privacy," Kilar said. "That's essentially a scorched-earth tactic."

While general counselor for the ACLU, Neema Singh Guliani, criticized the rule-reversal for what it is: a money-grab at the expense of Americans. “With this move, Congress is essentially allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to sell consumers’ private information to the highest bidder.”

Still, there are steps you can take to keep your private data safe from being sold.


The key to this kind of privacy is end-to-end encryption. If Verizon, for example, can't understand what you're doing on the internet, then your data is useless to them. So, think about ways to include encryption in your everyday. Use encrypted chat apps like WhatsApp. Try a VPN app for encrypting your network traffic. And safeguard your financial data by only using PayPal to secure your online shopping.

Electors are put into power to represent and act in the best interest of the people.

That means there is no discernible reason why they should want to dismantle privacy rules that protect consumers. Period.

Contact your local representative
and demand they not repeal the current FCC rules. Without them, ISPs don't have to tell you when your information has been breached.

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