How Do The New Internet Privacy Rules Affect You?

ANN ARBOR – Congress recently passed a law repealing a set of Internet privacy rules, in a move that’s taken the media by storm and for good reason. In the wake of this new legislation, there’s been a lot of confusion over what it means for the privacy of consumer Internet data. President Donald Trump still has to sign the new bill, so it isn’t even law yet. But it’s expected he will do so, and soon. No one understands the full impact of this repeal just yet, but here’s what we know right now:

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Congress, working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a set of rules that were aimed at regulating Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. These rules prevented ISPs from sharing their customers’ web browsing histories without their permission and placed other restrictions on how their data could be used. The newly elected Congress, working with new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed those rules with no indication of replacing them. That’s left everyone confused over what the ISPs can and can’t do.

On the one hand, ISPs could now potentially sell your web browsing history to a third-party provider for advertising purposes, but they also might decide not to. The point the FCC seems to be making right now (until we know more later) is that it should be up to the ISP companies themselves to decide, rather than the federal government. Of course, that makes the internet companies happy to be given a choice rather than being forced to follow any regulations, but it leaves consumer advocacy groups worried about who is protecting the users.

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