The Senate just voted to overturn the regulations on internet privacy. The governance was put in place by the FCC under the Obama administration. The regulations were to disallow internet service providers (ISP) from selling private information based on an individual’s browsing history. This data would be collected from sites that people visited in their browser and the apps that they use on their phone or tablet. This deregulation was a motion that was pushed through by the republican party and succeeded in a very close 48-50 vote. The action is going to be presented to the house in the next coming weeks where it is predicted to pass. This could mean an end to internet privacy but could also add some benefits and fairness to the variety of internet service providers.
ISP’s such as Comcast or Time Warner make a fair argument that they are not on the same playing field as the actual sites such as Google or Amazon. Individual websites have the ability to collect data from users and then sell it to marketing companies. This is why people see targeted ads throughout Facebook and in Google searches. The private data being collected and sold by sites currently is unable to be collected and sold by ISP’s. This, in a way, is seen as an unfair regulation that is put on the actual provider of the sites. The lifting of these regulations will be a big win for telecommunications companies and their profits. With this victory for ISP’s, it also could be considered a big loss for the consumer.
The repeal of these regulations means that a consumer’s information has one more source that it can be sold from. This can be seen as the U.S. Senate not putting the citizen’s privacy as a priority, but letting it be sold as capital gains. Democrat Senator, Ed Markey, is quoted saying, “With today’s vote, Senate Republicans have just made it easier for American’s sensitive information about their health, finances and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission.”
With this deregulation we can only speculate where the future of the internet can go under the rule of the republicans. Yesterday big telecomm won, allowing them to compete in the ad-sales department against sites like Google and Facebook. This win was at the cost of the erosion of privacy for the average U.S. citizen. The repeal can be seen as a slippery slope. Watching the people that are suppose to look out for Americans, hand out our information, makes a person wonder what will be next to provide a “fair ground” for large corporations?
At least we still have net neutrality…