Privacy Concerns Loom as Congress Moves to Allow Internet Providers to Share Users' Sensitive Data

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The House of Representatives voted this week to repeal a law previously passed by the Obama administration, requiring Internet Service Providers to gain permission from users in order to access and share certain pieces of personal information with advertisers (via The Washington Post).

    The law, which was approved last year prior to the Presidential election, limited what ISPs such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast could do with sensitive data including user location, browsing history, and even their Social Security numbers. The law also required ISPs to strengthen protections against hackers and online data thieves, and would have officially gone into effect at the end of 2017.

    Image via The Verge

    The Republican majority House has now voted to repeal these measures, with critics of the previous law arguing that the move will allow ISPs to enter a level playing field -- and subsequently increase healthy competition in the targeted online advertising market -- with companies like Google and Facebook. With the repeal, ISPs will no longer need user consent to sell their data to marketers "and other companies that mine personal data." The vote ended with 215 in favor to 205 in opposition.
    According to The Washington Post, the repeal is considered "the first salvo" in what is expected to turn into a "significant reworking" of rules and regulations regarding internet security and privacy under the Trump administration. The repeal goes so far as to include wording that aims to prevent the Federal Communications Commission -- which drafted the original law -- from issuing similar protections in the future.

    Those in support of the original FCC protections argued that ISPs require strict regulations because they represent a much broader scope of access to user data, unlike search engines which only access a snapshot of a user's browsing data. If a user is unhappy with a site's data access they can decide to stop using it, the FCC supporters argued, but switching ISPs because of potentially intrusive data mining "is far more difficult."

    On the other side, supporters of this week's repeal said that strict ISP privacy regulations "stifle innovation" when providers are forced to abide by such overbearing guidelines and laws.
    As some watchers of the repeal have noted, interest in virtual private networks has grown online in the wake of potential threats to user privacy. VPNs provide secure and encrypted connections between a user's Wi-Fi device and the VPN server, cloaking their browsing history and preventing intrusions into their private information. Major businesses and corporations most commonly use VPNs to ensure sensitive information remains private.

    For the new legislation, the next step is for it to be signed by the President, at which point it will be officially enacted.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Privacy Concerns Loom as Congress Moves to Allow Internet Providers to Share Users' Sensitive Data
  2. JayMysterio macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2010
    Rock Ridge

  3. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    I run a full time VPN on my desktop. I would suggest Apple add one so people have protection.
  4. SoN1NjA macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2016
    living hell
    Apple doesn't have the capacity for 1B users to have a VPN
    plus they can't protect people and not get in trouble for other people's problems
  5. JM macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2014
    "If a user is unhappy with a site's data access they can decide to stop using it, the FCC supporters argued, but switching ISPs because of potentially intrusive data mining 'is far more difficult.'"

    Yep. Bill killers are missing this logic. ***hats.
  6. GrumpyMom macrumors 603


    Sep 11, 2014
    Sickening. Net neutrality is next up on the chopping block, I hear. Our government: of big business, by big business and for big business. Screw the people.
  7. unobtainium macrumors 68000

    Mar 27, 2011
    The Republicans of congress just showed that they're for sale to the highest bidder, in case we didn't already know that. Pure corruption.
  8. shareef777 macrumors 68020


    Jul 26, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    And yet there are those that still try to justify their vote for Trump and his cronies.
  9. mkeeley macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2007
    I think you can say that about all politicians anywhere in the world.
  10. ibookg409 Suspended


    Apr 20, 2016
    Portsmouth, NH
    This is all politicians for the most part. Also, did the repubs in congress accept a payment for their vote?
  11. mozumder macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    This is what happens when you vote Republican. Oh well.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 29, 2017 ---
    You could, but you'd be lying.
  12. unobtainium macrumors 68000

    Mar 27, 2011
    That's vague and unhelpful. Let's be specific. This was Republicans in Congress.
  13. mkeeley macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2007
    You're deluded.
  14. unobtainium macrumors 68000

    Mar 27, 2011
    Nope, it wasn't all politicians. :)
    Yes, they did receive payments for their votes. The Democrats received plenty of donations from the telecom industry, yet somehow managed to hang on to their morals. Hmm.
  15. GeneralChang macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2013
    Welp, guess it's time to really start researching a good VPN. Any recommendations?
  16. Stella macrumors 604


    Apr 21, 2003
    Republicans... always concerned more about $$$$.

  17. 1applerules1 macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2015
    Why would they want to know my favoirite porn sites?
  18. dmylrea macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    By the time the Republicans are done screwing over the American people in 4 years, hopefully not many of them will have jobs.
  19. bmunge macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2012
    Why is the GOP consistently on the wrong side of every issue?
  20. ibookg409 Suspended


    Apr 20, 2016
    Portsmouth, NH
    Please source where republicans were paid to vote for this particular bill.
  21. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I'd love to know more details - this surely goes way beyond privacy concerns and into individual/corporate security. There must be times where your network history - if it includes the URIs of all requests - will divulge information that could be used to infer / phish / social-engineer other confidential data.

    And the next time there's a big data breach, we'll all be scratching our heads and wondering how it could have happened..

    I'm obviously non-American, but it seems to me it's a constant Republican trait: have an absolute hatred of any preventative, pre-emptive measures; but be the first to point the finger when the poop hits the fan.
  22. iapplelove macrumors 68040


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    This is very sad. We are being sold out by our very own governments.

    Funny thing but today questions about VPNs are leading google searches lol
  23. Keane16 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2007
    Hopefully people are aware of what this means and like the article says wise up to solutions like VPN. Although I imagine many will not and these big ISPs will get richer off the back of user data.

    Perhaps the market may even allow for smaller privacy focused ISPs to operate charging a little more for the added protection (although I'm not up to speed on American ISPs to know if hat can happen).

    At times like this I'm glad for Apple's (and others') privacy stances.
  24. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    The existence of the Obama-era protections this undoes is proof that not all politicians are beholden to big business. When that prior measure passed, the big money still overwhelmingly favored giving ISPs the ability to sell this information, but the public was protected nevertheless.
  25. bopajuice macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2016
    Dark side of the moon
    If you are a Republican please explain your reasoning behind supporting this type of repeal.

    After all you voted these guys into office, so I assume you support a lack of privacy and the sale of your private information?

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