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Congress votes to repeal broadband privacy rules

ISPs could be spying on your browsing history and conversations

Ting, along with everyone that loves the Internet and believes that it’s an agent for positive change, stands strongly opposed to recent moves by Congress to erase broadband privacy protections.

Ting was among the signatories on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) letter urging Congress to preserve FCC broadband Internet end user privacy protection rules and vote down plans to abolish them.

Yesterday, despite a public outcry, the House of Representatives voted 215 to 205 to do away with the FCC’s rules. These rules demanded that, among other things, an Internet service provider had to have permission before it could share a user’s personal information.

New protection laws to be repealed

The FCC’s laws, which passed last October and were due to take effect by the end of this year, forced ISPs to get clear permission from customers before sharing personal data such as email addresses, geo-locations, social security numbers, financial and health information, browsing history, app usage and even the content of their online communication.

The bill repealing the FCCs protection laws is expected to be signed into law by President Trump, putting all of that private data at real risk; ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon will be able to legally spy on their customers and sell their personal information to the highest bidder.

Additionally, the ACLU said, “passage of the resolution by Congress could prevent the FCC from issuing rules that are substantially the same (as those being repealed) in the future.”

The response

The new head of the FCC Ajit Pai said the repeal would help level the playing field between ISPs and other companies like Google and Facebook and that the FCC would work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure privacy is protected “through a consistent and comprehensive framework.”

However, we and our cosignatories, see this as a betrayal of individual rights in favor of corporations. Individuals who, in many markets, have no choice but to use the big ISPs who lobbied for this policy change.

“Today Congress proved once again that they care more about the wishes of the corporations that fund their campaigns than they do about the safety and security of their constituents,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Internet rights group Fight for the Future [Newsweek].

Fight for the Future plans to launch a billboard campaign, calling attention to those members of Congress who voted to repeal the FCC’s privacy rules. If you disagree with the decision, you might want to remember some of those names the next time you vote.

Keep in mind, members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms and stand for election again in 2018. U.S. Senators serve six-year terms, and they’re staggered so that a third of all Senate seats come up every two years as well.

Where we stand

For the record, Ting is not in the business of selling customer data to anyone nor do we analyze your browsing data. Even if the laws change, we will be holding to our terms of service to protect your privacy.

If you’re not already worried, check out this piece from the EFF. Five Creepy Things Your ISP Could Do if Congress Repeals the FCC’s Privacy Protections

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