Data privacy is getting more and more important, but it seems as though governmental authorities are becoming more and more lax on the matter.
Last month we possibly saw the death of U.S. citizens’ privacy rights in America. Although we’re here in the UK, this is relevant to us, because we still share so many ideals with our American counterparts, and we work with them a lot.
More often than not, the big worldwide breaches are affecting us both, and worldwide privacy rights is something we should all be concerned about.
Obama’s privacy rule
The U.S. House committee has chosen to overturn Obama’s internet privacy rule. Under the rules that were passed in October 2016 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), internet service providers had to gain permission from users to collect, use, and sell their personal information. The FCC’s rules banned internet service providers from selling data without the users’ explicit consent. This rule gave users greater control about the use of their personal data and their privacy, as consent was needed before internet service providers could use targeted advertisements.
The FCC gained its authority from its landmark 2015 net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. This meant that your internet service provider can’t force companies to pay an additional fee to deliver their content to customers faster. The three rules that made up the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules were:
- No blocking – internet service providers can’t block lawful content.
- No throttling – internet service providers can’t slow down specific applications or services.
- No paid prioritisation – internet service providers can’t accept payment from companies who want their content to be prioritised.
New bill that dismisses Obama’s privacy rule
Trump’s new presidency is already rife with concerns for many, and some see this as just the cherry on top of it all.
Using the Congressional Review Act, American Congress can simply dismiss regulations and laws from a previous administration by a simple majority vote. The bill passed 215 to 205 in favour of the Republicans, although the bill will not come into effect until the end of the year, and it has already placed prohibitions for agencies to pass similar regulations in the future.
What will the bill do and allow?
Democratic opposition and data privacy campaigners believe this decision has a retrograde effect on our human rights. They advocate that internet service providers shouldn’t have free reign to sell data to advertisers; that should remain the right of the individual.
The bill will allow internet service providers to effectively monitor your every move, in essence. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asserts this, saying:
“…your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family – where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more. They can even track you when you’re surfing in a private browsing mode. You deserve to be able to insist that those intimate details be kept private and secure.”
It’s thought that internet service providers want access to your private data to see and note your health concerns, political views, and your personal surfing habits. This allows internet service providers to gather information about you such as where you bank, your shopping habits, and information about your personality based on the websites you visit.
The internet service providers’ defence is: so that more relevant advertising can be shown to the users. They pose the argument that browsing history shouldn’t be classified as “sensitive” information.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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