Is The US Really Going To Let ISPs Sell Users Browsing Histories To Advertisers?

Trump is about to repeal broadband privacy regulations in the US after a house vote.

Whatever happened to consumer protection? The US government has just voted by 215-205 (a lot of republicans defected) to repeal ISP broadband privacy regulations, which essentially means that your browsing history can be sold to the highest bidder – which will be an advertiser.

The privacy regulations brought in by the Obama administration were designed to protect consumers, but it looks like they are no more; the new laws will allow internet service providers (ISPs) do pretty well whatever they like with American’s personal browsing histories, without asking permission, which, whatever you happen to be in to, is probably bad news.

Unless you like better targeted advertising, of course, for it will be advertisers cueing up to purchase the data that ISPs will be capturing.

The providers’ see it differently however. They say that it is unfair that web based services, like Google and Facebook, get to share data about their users’ behaviour with advertisers, whereas ISPs, under the laws introduced by Obama, which will probably never see the light of day, must obtain their customers’ explicit permission before they begin spying on them. That gives the websites an unfair advantage in the digital advertising game, they say.

Ah yes, say Democrats (who are against the repeal), but users can fool Facebook and Google by logging out of their service or by using a different web browser, whereas ISPs see everything (everything!) and on top of that, ISPs charge their customers for their services, whereas the likes of Facebook and Google are free services. Its’ also hard to switch between different ISP providers, especially in remote areas where there may only be one provider.

Now it all falls on Trump – if he signs the document that repeals the law restricting access to user data without explicit permission, ISPs will be celebrating, but fans of data privacy will be shocked and a little upset, to say the least.

An opportunity to do some shocking – odds on Trump will take it.

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