Why the House wants to kill Obama-era online privacy rules

USA-ELECTION-TRUMP The Internet privacy rules, as they were, would have required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers’ opt-in consent before selling or sharing Web browsing history, app use history, and other private information with advertisers and other companies. That’s not a bad thing. BUT, what you probably don’t know is those same “rules” apply stricter regulations on ISPs than the rules that apply to mega website operators like Google (gmail too), Yahoo and Facebook who would have been exempt, when they actually have as much, if not more, access to consumer data.

Last year, through a party-line vote, privacy regulations were pushed through that were designed to benefit favored companies over disfavored companies. The recent House vote that passed simply rejects the ability to play favorites before it went effect.

This repeal is actually an important step toward restoring consumer privacy protections that will apply consistently to ALL Internet companies and make way for economic growth and innovation where, under the Obama privacy rules, it was somewhat crippled.

To hear the Democrats tell it, the Republican-controlled Congress WANTS broadband companies to use and sell sensitive information about consumer health, finances, and even children without consent.

That’s simply NOT true!

Republicans argue that the Federal Trade Commission SHOULD be the agency to regulate ISPs, since it already regulates privacy practices of other companies including website operators. However, that would have been impossible under current regulations because the FTC is barred from regulating ISPs and phone companies. The FCC would have to change its classification of ISPs.

The FTC would allow consumers to opt-in and give consent before sharing most sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, financial and health information, information about children, and geo-location data while at the same time, you would be automatically enrolled in everything else such as Web browsing and app usage history of which you would have the option to opt-out of if you chose to do so. Basically, everyone will need to use common sense. I know the Democrats prefer people not have any of that, but with the new sheriff in town, people are going to have to learn to use it.

The FCC is committed to working with the FTC to ensure consumers’ online privacy is protected and will do so in a way that is both consistent and comprehensive but in order to do so, the FTC must secure jurisdiction over broadband providers privacy practices. Now that can happen thanks to the House vote. 

Gayla – follow me @Gayla and on Facebook 

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