Special Reports

US Congress Passes Bill That Could Compromise Online Privacy, It's Now Up To Donald Trump


On Tuesday, the US Congress voted to eliminate the online privacy rules of ISPs (Internet Service Providers). It came after the Senate took the same action last week. Therefore, the finalization of the bill is up to the hands of President Donald Trump. Will it get a signature or a veto?

Apparently, the White House just released a statement supporting the move of the Congress and the Senate. It even noted that Donald Trump will be advised to sign the legislation immediately. For one thing, it will officially end the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) online privacy regulations.

Last year, FCC required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get authorized customer consents first before selling their web browsing histories. Oftentimes, this private information is used for targeted advertising. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the FCC also cannot issue similar regulations in the future. Representative Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) reportedly challenged the Republicans to "leave Capitol Hill for five minutes" and find "three people" who are willing to let ISPs sell their browsing histories.

Ars Technica reported that CRA resolutions really entail the president's signature. At the end of the day, it appears that Republicans in both Houses attempt to undo a lot of Barack Obama policies. They say that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should regulate ISP's privacy rules and not the FCC. Nonetheless, while the resolution truly eliminates FCC's rules, it does not mention any action to return jurisdiction to the FTC.

According to USA Today, the House vote recorded at 215 to 205. Of course, the majority of those in favor of the preservation of the privacy rules came from the Democratic Party. On the other hand, the Senate voted 50 to 48, with lawmakers voting along party lines too. If Trump signs the resolution to oust FCC in the internet privacy regulation, ISPs could directly sell their consumers' app usage histories and personal data to advertising companies even without customer consent.

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