What the death of broadband privacy rules means

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The Senate had already voted to the block it. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will revoke the Clean Power Plan introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 to restrict greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired USA power plants.

"Overwhelmingly, the American people do not agree with Republicans that this information should be sold, and it certainly should not be sold without your permission", said Pelosi, D-Calif.

The House of Representatives voted 215-205 to revoke the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) broadband privacy rules, which required telecom and cable providers such as Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) to ask customers for permission before selling information, including health and financial data, to advertisers.

And internet service providers have access not only to your searches and Facebook "likes", but also to every site you visit, every physical location you go to and every app you use.

"Most people can't simply walk away from their Internet service provider", says Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the ACLU.

The vote went along party lines, as in the Senate, in line with a view current among Republicans that the privacy protection rules, ordered in 2016 and scheduled to kick in later this year, was throttling innovation and competition.

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai praised the decision of Congress to overturn "privacy regulations created to benefit one group of favoured companies over another group of disfavoured companies".

Faso, R-Kinderhook, said he voted to keep the rule in place because "ultimately, it is consumers who have the right to decide how their information will be used". In addition to repealing the previously-enacted rules, the resolution prohibits the FCC from passing any new privacy restrictions to protect users.

Republicans repeatedly discounted the privacy benefits generated by the rule. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have argued that the repeal of the broadband privacy rules will not leave Americans with less privacy protection than they have now, but Grant said this misses the point entirely.

A draft mock-up of the billboard states: "They betrayed you".

Web surfers willing to pony up a few extra bucks for privacy can also purchase a VPN, or virtual private network, which encrypts traffic so browsing history can't be traced. They hope there isn't a call for more local providers that put consumers before profit.

Of course, as is often the case, the majority of those who voted in favor of this wholly unnecessary and invasive legislation did so because they themselves get paid by Internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T.

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