The Fight for Online Privacy

The Republicans in Congress just managed to repeal Obama administration’s bill aimed to protect online privacy. These regulations were adopted last October by the Federal Communications Commission and require Internet service providers to protect users’ privacy more than such popular sites as Google or Facebook.

 

According to Reuters, this new Republican bill is intended to ease restrictions, while angering many social media users.

 

In response, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have declared that they won’t sell browsing information of their customers.

 

“We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so,” stated Gerald Lewis, chief privacy officer at Comcast.

 

Meanwhile, Verizon’s spokesperson has confirmed that the company doesn’t sell personal browsing information and has no plans to do so in the future.

 

President Trump plans to sign the bill which repeals the rules imposed on Internet service providers that require them to obtain permission from customers to sell information using precise geographic location, health and financial information, children’s information, web browsing history, and other data.

 

When it comes to search engines, such as Google, or social media sites, such as Facebook, these already are subject to less strict rules about gathering and selling personal data about their users. This fact has served as a Republican argument for easing restrictions on service providers to eliminate rules that give unfair advantages to the likes of Google when it comes to harvesting personal information.

 

As it goes, the privacy rules get loosened rather than becoming more strict. The conclusion is that the lawmakers take the side of business interests rather than personal privacy. On the other hand, the privacy rules in the European Union are more strict, yet still allow for collections of personal data personal data, but only under strict conditions.