By Lilly Pie  |  03-29-2017   News
Photo credit: Lucian Milasan | Dreamstime.com

During Obama's presidency, one of his actions was to protect internet privacy. Although the bill has not taken effect, it now appears it is likely never to take effect at all. Republicans are backing a bill to go to vote Tuesday that would stop the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules that would protect consumers against their internet providers tracking them. This means browsing history, search terms, and other online behaviors. This 'meta data' would be unprotected if this bill were to pass allowing internet service providers to sell this information on the open market to entities such as advertisers.

Consumers should be outraged at this as it sends any shred of whats left of internet privacy to the wind. A resolution passed by the senate 50-48 last week states: "Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to 'Protecting the Privacy of Consumers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services' (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016), and such rule shall have no force or effect." What does this mean? Well the FCC passed these rules during the final days of Obama's term in office. They used the net-neutrality rules as a legal grounds for the resolution. Net-neutrality rules were enacted to protect internet providers from throttling, slowing, or blocking legal sites from consumers. This also means hiding internet access behind various tiers of paywalls.

In the past, there have been many instances of companies such as Verizon and AT&T installing tracking software on devices being sold to consumers in the form of "supercookies" and other means of monitoring users activity. It is not a question of whether companies will use your data and sell it off to the highest bidder, now it is just a matter of what you can do to protect yourself from it. One place a consumer could start in taking their privacy protection into their own hands is using a VPN, or 'virtual private network' to connect to the internet. Although it is unlikely that the average user will take such steps meaning that if this resolution goes before President Trump and signed into law Internet privacy is likely to become a thing of the past entirely.

Sources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/congress-internet-privacy-rules-203759760.html

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/vpns-wont-save-congress-internet-privacy-giveaway/

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