Earlier this week, Congress passed a bill to repeal the FCC privacy rules set by the previous administration, giving internet service providers (ISP) the power of collecting and selling all your internet history and other personal data. If anyone hoped that President Donald Trump might come to his senses and decide against signing the bill, you should know that won’t happen. The White House confirmed that Trump will ink the bill that’ll give ISPs more freedom to commercialize your personal data.
The White House said on Wednesday that Trump plans to sign the repeal bill, Reuters reports. Press secretary Sean Spicer said he did not know when Trump would sign the bill, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening.
In addition to storing and potentially selling your internet browsing history, ISPs will be able to quickly collect plenty of other data without necessarily informing you about what’s going on.
The privacy bill adopted in October under the Obama administration would have required ISPs to better protect the privacy of their customers. That meant ISPs needed to obtain the consent of the client before using various types of personal information including geolocation, financial information, health data, children information, and web browsing data.
The worry isn’t just that companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others will start selling your browsing habits. The more data these companies hoard about users, the more dangerous it can be for a user’s safety in a case of a data breach. Hackers proved time and again that they’re able to penetrate even systems believed to be very secure, and ISPs user databases might become appealing targets. And let’s not forget that spy agencies may want to tap into that kind of data too.
After effectively killing internet privacy, Trump’s administration may further harm internet users in the near future. The FCC’s new chairman Ajit Pai is a strong opponent of net neutrality. He said in December that the days of net neutrality are numbered. Reuters notes that Trump did not address the matter as president, but opposed net neutrality in 2014.
While you wait for Trump to pronounce the death of your internet privacy, you should learn what you can do to protect your privacy going forward.