Trump Signs Bill to Roll Back Privacy Rules into Law


The polarizing repeal of broadband privacy rules is said to be a prelude to a larger legal fight against net neutrality rules that the FCC will likely be looking to repeal later this year under the Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai.

The bill could eventually allow internet providers to sell information about their customers' browsing habits, AFP reports. But critics said the rule would have stifled innovation and picked winners and losers among Internet companies.

The latest bill scraps a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) online privacy regulation issued in October 2016 to give consumers more control over how companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon share that information.

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Trump's adviser, Marc Short, told reporters during an on-record briefing Wednesday that "we were content right now on pulling back" on the previous FCC's privacy rules.

The regulations imposed during the Obama administration restricted internet service providers from using any user's sensitive information, including their browsing history and details of their finances and health, to create targeted advertisements, without their consent. The lawmakers utilized the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a bill that permits Congress and the president to overturn recently passed regulations that originated and were authorized through a federal agency. "Consumers deserve and expect one consistent set of online privacy protections and this action helps clear the way for a more uniform approach across the entire internet ecosystem".

The move by Trump to sign it into law is a body blow to advocates of internet privacy and a win for internet service providers. However, as promised, President Trump has now signed the resolution into law repealing FCC rules to protect consumers from privacy invasions by ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.

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Following the votes in Senate and the House, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon promised that they don't now sell users' browsing history and have no plans to do so in the future.

"This legislation will seriously undermine the privacy protections of the overwhelming majority of Americans", the senators said.

Last week, 46 Senate Democrats had urged Trump not to sign the Bill, arguing most Americans "believe that their private information should be just that".

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