It’s no surprise that we’re very interested in how our current administration is impacting topics like Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy. When Ajit Pai was appointed to be FCC chairman a couple months ago, we encouraged everyone to stay informed and keep an eye out for new issues. Well, this week the House voted to undo rules which prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling user data to the highest bidder, just the latest roll back of protections that had been put in place by former President Obama. Although President Trump has not yet signed the roll back into effect, the White House has suggested that he will and the implications for Internet privacy concerns are pretty significant. (Update – As expected, President Trump did sign the bill in question on April 3rd, 2017, to repeal online privacy protections established under the previous administration.)
Basically, it means that ISPs can jump into the game of generating revenue directly from how their customers use the Internet as well as any personal information shared online. Most ISPs currently have privacy policies that limit what they can do with this type of data to some extent, but now the door is open for them to find ways to monetize it even more than before. Chances are good that ISPs will take it to (or past) the limit whenever possible. We expect that online security will become an even bigger concern than it already is once people start to see even more signs that their online behaviors and info are being used to drive advertising dollars to companies like Comcast and Verizon.
It’s hard to say where this will lead to. Information about browsing the internet via VPNs to ensure 100% data encryption began surfacing pretty quickly after the news broke and that suggests the direction that consumers will start to move towards. As always, we think staying informed is essential in times like these. Here are some recent articles on the topic that help paint a picture of what changes may come:
- “House Republicans just voted to let your internet provider sell your browsing history without your permission” – from Business Insider (3/28/17)
- “How the Republicans Sold Your Privacy to Internet Providers” – from The New York Times (3/29/17)
- “Republicans voted to roll back landmark FCC privacy rules. Here’s what you need to know.” – from The Washington Post (3/28/17)
- “Congress Overturns Internet Privacy Regulation” – from NPR (3/28/17)
- “Privacy advocates plan to fight Congress’ repeal of Internet privacy rules” – from PCWorld (3/29/17)
- “Congress Is About To Give Away Your Online Privacy” – from Wired (3/22/17)
Pay attention and get ready to take action when the time comes!