In a vote Tuesday, Congress overturned the strongest internetprivacy protections ever afforded to USA citizens, repealing rules created by the Federal Communications Commission in October.
Internet service providers are in an awkward spot.
"We do not sell our broadband customers' individual Web browsing history", Comcast chief privacy officer Gerard Lewis wrote in a blog post.
Quinn said it's "flatly untrue" that Congress' actions would eliminate all legal protections on the use of customer information and argued "some folks are ignoring the facts".
"The Congressional action had zero effect on the privacy protections afforded to consumers", Quinn continued. "Today Congress proved once again that they care more about the wishes of the corporations that fund their campaigns than they do about the safety and security of their constituents", said Evan Greer, campaign director from rights group Fight for the Future.
People are enraged with the new law that will allow ISPs to sell their browsing histories, and major ISPs are attempting to calm customers by saying they have no intention of selling their personal information. AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have all penned open letters, which in essence tell customers not to worry. Websites do not need the same affirmative consent. "Period." Verizon similarly says it doesn't plan to sell browsing histories; it does have two programs using the data, one with "de-identified" info for marketers and the other for aggregate insights for advertisers.
Lewis affirms that misleading information has been hovering around following the reversal law, and maintains that Comcast is not planning to sell sensitive information. The FCC rules, which were ratified late past year, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to gain consent from customers before sharing or selling web browsing data and other identifiable information with third-parties. Thus, the question of sharing consumers' sensitive data to third-party advertising companies does not arise.
US Telecom, a broadband trade group, countered in an Axios op-ed piece that browser histories are already being "sold to advertising networks - by virtually every site you visit on the internet".
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