World

Trump signs repeal of US broadband privacy rules

Reuters Washington | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 04, 2017

broadband

US President Donald Trump had on Monday signed a repeal of Obama-era broadband privacy rules, the White House said, a victory for internet service providers and a blow to privacy advocates.

Republicans in Congress had last week narrowly passed the repeal of the privacy rules with no Democratic support and over the strong objections of privacy advocates.

The signing, disclosed in White House statement late on Monday, follows strong criticism of the Bill, which is a win for AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc.

The Bill repeals regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc.

The rules had not yet taken effect but would have required internet providers to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had praised the repeal in a statement late on Monday for having appropriately invalidated one part of the Obama-era plan for regulating the internet.” Those flawed privacy rules, which never went into effect, were designed to benefit one group of favored companies, not online consumers.”

Pai said the FCC would work with the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees websites, to restore the “FTCs authority to police internet service providers privacy practices.”

Republican FCC commissioners have said the Obama rules would unfairly give websites the ability to harvest more data than internet service providers.

The action is the latest in a string of reversals of Obama administration rules. On Monday, the FCC reversed a requirement that Charter Communications Inc extend broadband service to 1 million homes that already have a high-speed provider.

On Friday, Comcast, Verizon AT&T Inc said they would voluntarily not sell customers individual internet browsing information.

Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no plans to do so but the company said it has two advertising programs that use “de-identified” customer browsing data, including one that uses “aggregate insights that might be useful for advertisers and other businesses.”

The American Civil Liberties Union had said last month Congress should have opposed “industry pressure to put profits over privacy” and added “most Americans believe that their sensitive internet information should be closely guarded''.

Trade group USTelecom Chief Executive Jonathan Spalter in a statement praised Trump for “stopping rules that would have created a confusing and conflicting consumer privacy framework''.

Last week, 46 Senate Democrats had urged Trump not to sign the Bill, arguing most Americans “believe that their private information should be just that''.

Republicans later this year are expected to move to overturn net neutrality provisions that in 2015 reclassified broadband providers and treated them like a public utility - a move that is expected to spark an even bigger fight.

Published on April 04, 2017

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.