Vote tackles controversial internet privacy rules enacted under the Obama administration.
There’s a vote happening today in the House of Representatives, one that’s expected to overturn some sweeping, controversial internet privacy rules that were enacted under the Obama administration. Sadly, the measure has already passed the Senate in a 50-48 vote, meaning it moves through the House then onto Trump’s desk. These so-called controversial rules limited the ability of ISPs to sell users’ information to advertisers, which on the surface should be a good thing.
Who in their right minds would possibly vote to overturn your privacy? Corporate greed mongers, for starters. But what’s really at stake here isn’t the thought that you might get to keep some of your information private. The real issue is a sandbox fight between two government agencies, one who regulates and litigates against companies like Facebook and Google, and one who only wishe they had that kind of power.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been at odds over this issue ever since they rules were enacted last fall. The FTC as a consumer protection group gets to tell internet giants what they can and cannot do with your information, but this does not include the ISPs, just companies that operate on the web. The ISPs actually fall under the FCC, who also regulates things like the phone companies, cellular service providers, and television cable companies. The FTC doesn’t have the power to tell the ISPs to behave themselves, and the FCC isn’t all that interested in making them play nice.
Level playing field
Confusing yet? Of course it is. What’s really at stake here is the FCC thinks it’s unfair that Google can gather and use your information, but Verizon can’t, for example. They want to enact the same rules over both entities. But the difference is, using Google is a choice but using Verizon might not be. Depending on where tech users live geographically, they may have literally no choices when it comes to selecting an ISP, thanks to the near-monopoly status of telecom companies in the US. You don’t have to have a Facebook account, but if you live in a specific city, your only telecom option has been determined for you.
It’s important for those with a vested interest in privacy to contact their Representatives immediately. The vote has most likely already been determined due to the party politics currently running the country, but this level only says the companies don’t have to protect your privacy. There are still many other options that future legislation can secure, as well as consumer voice to their ISPs.