US vote paves way for sale of personal customer data

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"Gutting these privacy rules won't just allow Internet Service Providers to spy on us and sell our personal information, 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".

Considering how much citizens pay for the privilege of having internet access (while being throttled for using Netflix), Republicans in Congress should have had no reason to hand over more of their constituents' privacy for a payday.

On Tuesday, March 28, Congress voted to block the FCC's internet privacy protection rule, a rule that was passed last October.

A White House statement was issued Tuesday supporting the overturn of the F.C.C. rule. Thanks to House Republicans, your internet browsing history, personal health and financial information and even location, can be sold to the highest bidder. All of this subterfuge leads to the larger question as to what President Trump is trying to hide.

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Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman, said existing privacy protections would remain in place. Given the House barely passed the bill 215-205, with 15 Republicans crossing the aisle to join Democrats in opposition, and the Senate passed the bill 50-48, an override would be unlikely.

Now the legislation is being sent to President Donald Trump, who is a strong supporter of the move, according to Reuters.

New Jersey's five Republican congressman have voted in favor of a resolution that allows internet providers to sell your browsing habits without your permission.

"Give me one good reason why Comcast should know what my mother's medical problems are", said congressman Mike Capuano when the bill was being debated.

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"The argument that the rules are unfair because other internet businesses that collect and sell individuals' personal information wouldn't be covered is disingenuous".

Telecom companies know a lot about what people do online because they are the gatekeepers through which people connect to the Internet. Those companies fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.

"You got all this information that's just floating around on this cyber highway, and anyone can reach in and grab it", Clark said.

One possible way to protect online activity is to opt for a virtual private network or VPN.

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