Trump’s FCC and Republicans Ready to Roll Back Broadband Privacy Rules

Andrew Orr In the News

Certain Republican senators are preparing a resolution that cancels broadband privacy rules that require ISPs to protect customers’ online data. The regulations passed in October require home and mobile ISPs to obtain opt-in consent from consumers. Once the consumer opts-in, the ISP can share web browsing data and other private information with third-parties like advertisers and market research agencies.

ISP Privacy Rules Already Under Attack

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said that “he plans to introduce a resolution that would roll back the FCC’s broadband policy rules via the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to eliminate agency rules with a simple majority vote.”

Flake has a dozen co-sponsors that support him, but he hasn’t provided a timeline as to when he’ll submit his resolution. As for the House, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, “said last week she was speaking with colleagues in the Senate ‘daily’ about how to best utilize the CRA to undo broadband privacy.” Until last month the CRA had not been used to roll back regulations in over 16 years. It is important to remember how the CRA works. If the CRA is used to roll back a government regulation, it is dead forever. It cannot be reintroduced. It turns out that Blackburn and Flake receives a lot of bribes in the form of campaign donations from the broadband industry.

A letter from lobby groups, signed by NCTA and CTIA, said:

“Amongst other flaws, the FCC Order would create confusion and interfere with the ability of consumers to receive customized services and capabilities they enjoy and be informed of new products and discount offers…Further, the Order would also result in consumers being bombarded with trivial data breach notifications…”

It’s alarming that these groups view security breaches that endanger consumers as “trivial.” This is further proof that Trump and politicians as a whole in its current form are selling out their constituents at every turn. Our politicians work for us, but they no longer represent us, they have new bosses. If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is the fact that there has been a lot of political activism this year and politicians appear to be surprised that they are suddenly being held accountable for their actions. We can only hope that this continues until our politicians realize that we the people will not stand by idle while gross corruption runs rampant.

Other Online Privacy Solutions

There are a few technologies that promise to keep web browsing data private. The more tech savvy should look into Streisand, it works as a VPN server, DNS server, and Tor bridge. Streisand does require a bit of jiggering to get working. I have been running it on Digital Ocean for a few months and have been impressed with it. It is free, and a Digital Ocean server can be had for about $5.00 per month. On the other hand, LiquidVPN is a turnkey solution that does not require any technical knowledge and still provides the same essential benefits to online privacy.