Politics

Trump Signs Repeal Of Obama-Era Internet Privacy Rules

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing privacy regulations first mandated under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while it was under the chairmanship of Democrat Tom Wheeler last year, according to multiple reports and an industry source.

The rules would have required broadband companies to acquire consent from customers before using or selling their personal data — like browsing history and limited financial information — for tailored advertisements.

Senate and House Republicans, respectively, voted in late March to repeal the Obama-era privacy regulations that were set to take place later this year. The lawmakers utilized the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a bill that permits Congress and the president to overturn recently passed regulations that originated and were authorized through a federal agency.

Trump’s decision “appropriately invalidated one part of the Obama-era plan for regulating the internet,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, according to Reuters. “Those flawed privacy rules, which never went into effect, were designed to benefit one group of favored companies, not online consumers.” (RELATED: FCC Wants To Get Rid Of One Of The Most Annoying Things In The World)

Pai is alluding to the notion that companies like Google and Facebook have the ability to sell people’s personal data to advertisers, while the clarity and degree of consent is sometimes dubious.

Others, though, are not so sure.

“The FCC’s privacy rules are a common-sense step toward giving consumers control over how their data is used and sold. Without these protections in place, we are at greater risk of having deeply personal and revealing information breached or used in a discriminatory way,” the American Civil Liberties Union said last month in an official blog post. “Congress must abandon its attempts to overturn this crucial rule and the FCC must resist calls to delay or weaken the rule’s protections.”

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