Trump signs bill blocking online privacy regulation

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President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a controversial measure repealing online privacy protections established by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama Administration.

Just to make sure Congress understood how unnecessary and "overreaching" those Obama-era rules were, the big broadband providers paid an average of $70,779 per Senator in campaign contributions and $26,129 per House member according to followthemoney.org.

The regulations were finalized in October 2016, but were eligible for rollback via the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that allows Congress to express its disapproval of new, major regulations.

Ajit Pai, FCC chairman, has said he wanted to roll back the broadband privacy rules.

Many telecom companies also objected because tech companies like Facebook and Google would not have been affected by the rules.

Reuters says, Congress is now forced to govern the websites with a less restrictive set of privacy rules.

American consumers' privacy deserves to be protected regardless of who handles their personal information. Pai could initiate a new rule-making process at the FCC to overhaul net neutrality, or Congress could move forward with legislation.

"The consequences of passing this resolution are clear: broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and others will be able to sell your personal information to the highest bidder without your permission", Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo said on the floor of the house. The rules proposed by the FCC under the Obama Administration would have only taken effect in December 2017.

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Comcast, AT&T and Verizon all said in the wake of the bill's passage that they wouldn't sell individual browsing information and had no plans to do so.

The association also pointed to a pledge major ISPs made in January reiterating a commitment to follow principles consistent with the FTC's approach, including the commitment not to sell their customers' sensitive information - including financial, children's, and health information, social security numbers, and precise geolocation data - without first obtaining opt-in consent of their customers.

Representatives of broadband ISPs welcomed the House vote.

But social media and internet search websites don't have access to almost as much data as internet service providers.

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, however, says the move reverses "privacy regulations created to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies".

Experts say federal law still requires broadband providers to protect customer information but it does not spell out how or what companies must do, which is what the online privacy rule aimed to do.

Surprisingly, Trump said that "no computer is safe" when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new skepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to worldwide relations back on January 1st, 2017.

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