Comcast, AT&T reaffirm privacy commitments amid flap over FCC rules

The ruling means that internet providers will no longer need permission to market customers' web-browsing history.

Despite these statements, consumer advocates have argued that the new FCC regulations will ensure broadband providers can't sell information about where you've been online, what you're buying, the apps you're using, and where you're located to marketers and other third parties, like insurance companies. On Wednesday, the White House said President Trump plans to sign the bill.

The repeal of the rule doesn't necessarily mean your browsing history is up for bids. That's what the FCC rule aimed to do.

Now, your internet service provider (like Comcast and AT&T) have the wonderful ability to sell the data they collect on their users to whichever advertiser or corporation that hopes to obtain it for whatever objective they want.

"This will allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be viewed on an equal playing field", Spicer said at a White House briefing Thursday.

A similar vote in the Senate last week struck down the measures, planned to be enforced by the end of this year. Thanks to House Republicans, your internet browsing history, personal health and financial information and even location, can be sold to the highest bidder. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of rules overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

One critic of the repeal, Mr Craig Aaron, president of Free Press advocacy group, said major Silicon Valley firms shied away from the fight over the rules because they profit from consumer data. "We don't do it, and that's the bottom line", Verizon's chief privacy officer, Karen Zacharia, said in a company blog posting.

Eckersley warned that the new resolution rolling back privacy protections essentially gives broadband providers the greenlight to "go full steam ahead and do maximum tracking".

Doug Brake, senior telecommunications and policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, where he specializes in broadband policy, wireless enforcement and spectrum-sharing mechanisms.

"Lawmakers who voted in favor of this bill just sold out the American people to special interests", said Democrat Jared Polis.

Of course, this ability was already available to private corporations like Google and Facebook who use your data - much of it far more intimate than what your ISP can gather - every single day.

  • Wendy Palmer