FCC & GOP Move to Eliminate Internet Privacy
FCC blocks rule to require ISPs to protect privacy.
Worse, the GOP is advancing a bill to make it illegal for the FCC to enforce all broadband privacy rules over your private data, and prohibit the FCC from enacting privacy rules in the future.
This is a potential area where even the most wingnut of Republican voters could be potential allies in a pushback against Republicans in Congress and the FCC chairman. More at the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Internet users won a significant victory last year when the FCC issued its Broadband Privacy Rules. As part of these rules, ISPs would be required to protect their customers’ sensitive information. For instance, ISPs would need to take reasonable steps to protect Social Security numbers, financial information, health information, and Web browsing data against hackers. In the wake of major ISPs like Comcast suffering huge data breaches, this would clearly be sound policy—but Chairman Pai apparently disagrees. And of course, ISPs are gleeful about his decision because they’d prefer not to be scrutinized when they fail to properly protect your data.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the worst of it.
Republicans in Congress are planning a much bigger assault on the Internet, by making it illegal for the FCC to protect consumer privacy online. With heavy support from the cable and telephone industry, they are hoping to use a rare and far reaching tool known as a Congressional Review Act resolution, which would not only completely eliminate all of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules (not just the data security rule), it would prohibit the FCC from ever enacting any “substantially similar” privacy rules in the future. Because of the current regulatory landscape, the Federal Trade Commission is also barred from policing ISPs, leaving no federal cop on the beat to protect consumer privacy in this space.
In other words, ISPs would have carte blanche when it comes to rifling through, sharing, and selling your private data.
In the wake of massive data breaches at companies like Sony and Comcast, eliminating requirements for ISPs to safeguard your data seems like a complete giveaway to corporations. Moreover, weakening such laws will inevitably weaken security (corporations hate paying for security since it doesn’t generate profit), thus making your information easier for criminals to acquire.
EFFs article includes links to the relevant FCC rules, GOP bill, and relevant history of data security telecom firms have not provided in the past.