The US House voted on Tuesday 215-205 to repeal regulations needing internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy.
The White House said President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump strongly supports the repeal of the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama.
The rules forced internet providers to ask consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.
Last week, the Senate voted 50-48 to reverse the rules in a win for AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications who paid a lot of money to get their Tame Republican candidate’s elected.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement praised the decision of Congress to overturn “privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favoured companies over another group of disfavoured companies”.
Last week, Pai said consumers would have privacy protections even without the Obama internet provider rules, but most sane people think that you must be smoking something to believe that is true.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it is not rocket science to work out that companies “should not be able to use and sell the sensitive data they collect from you without your permission”.
One critic of the repeal, Craig Aaron, president of Free Press advocacy group, said major Silicon Valley companies shied away from the fight over the rules because they make so much dosh from flogging consumer data.
“There are a lot of companies that are very concerned about drawing attention to themselves and being regulated on privacy issues, and are sitting this out in a way that they haven’t sat out earlier privacy issues,” Aaron said.
One amusing side effect of the story is that interest in VPNs in the US is suddenly booming.