Internet users can no longer expect internet service providers to protect their privacy.
On March 28, the House of Representatives repealed an internet privacy law, and, now, ISPs can share personal information and location data. President Donald Trump has not yet signed the new mandate, but officials expect he will soon.
Service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast voiced strong support for the ruling. Accordingly, they said that their companies, along with many others, have to deal with privacy laws that are too strict. Additionally, they claimed that companies such as Google and Facebook do not have to face as extensive regulations.
The repealed privacy law, enacted by former President Barack Obama, required that ISPs get consent from customers to share their information with marketers and other companies. Furthermore, users would have to give permission for ISPs to share “precise geo-location, financial information, health information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history and the content of communications.” The law was supposed to activate by the end of this year.
Lawmakers and internet users share conflicting views
Despite mass criticisms, Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission, said the House’s ruling is beneficial. Accordingly, he believes that this repeal makes regulation fairer across all internet companies.
“Last year, the Federal Communications Commission pushed through, on a party-line vote, privacy regulations,” he said. “[They were] designed to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies. Appropriately, Congress has passed a resolution to reject this approach of picking winners and losers before it takes effect.”
Despite Pai’s confidence in the House’s decision, the ruling left many people angry.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said Congress’s decision proves members’ loyalties. She claims they care more about campaign funding than their constituents’ privacy.
“People from across the political system are outraged,” she said. “And every lawmaker who votes to take away our privacy will regret it come election day.
Greer and other members of Fight for the Future started a campaign to publicize congressmen and women who supported the ruling.