Justice

Congress Makes Decision on Internet Privacy Rule

Your browsing history is officially one signature away from being sold by internet service providers (ISP) without your permission.

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The House passed a resolution to repeal a Federal Communication Committee (FCC) rule that protects your internet data on Tuesday — and now it's on its way to President Donald Trump's desk. The 2016 rule was meant to give consumers a say in how ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon manage their personal data.

Trump is expected to sign the bill to repeal the rule, which requires ISPs to get consumer authorization to share sensitive data, such as web browsing history or financial information and inform consumers about data collection practices. 

The advocacy group Fight for the Future laid out the stakes of a repeal in a tweet thread Tuesday.

Because the repeal effort was made under the Congressional Review Act, federal law will prevent the FCC from reintroducing the rule or introducing "similar" consumer protections in the future, USA Today reported.

The House largely voted along party lines to pass the resolution, with 215 Republican members voting "yes" and 205 Democratic members voting "no." Fifteen Republican members joined Democrats in opposition to the resolution. Here are the House representatives who voted to repeal the rule

"Putting the interests of Internet providers over Internet users, Congress today voted to erase landmark broadband privacy protections," Ernesto Omar Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a press release emailed to ATTN:. "If the bill is signed into law, companies like Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon will have free rein to hijack your searches, sell your data, and hammer you with unwanted advertisements."

"While today is extremely disappointing, there is still tomorrow," Falcon added. "Without a doubt Internet providers (with the exception of the small providers who stood with us) will engage in egregious practices, and we are committed to mobilizing the public to push back. EFF will continue the fight to restore our privacy rights on all fronts."

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