Earlier this year, House Republicans voted to retract milestone internet privacy protection laws that were put in place by the Obama Administration shortly before the end of Obama’s term. However, last week, Marsha Blackburn (R, Tennessee) proposed an alternative to these recent changes, called The Browser Act, which at least provides some sense of privacy protection.
Obama’s Stance on Privacy
In October 2016, in the final months of Obama’s term as U.S. president, the FCC’s five commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the new FCC rules, essentially limiting how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can collect, share and use consumer data, proclaiming the people’s right to control the use of their personal information.
These rules put in place in October 2016 required ISPs to obtain their customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing sensitive data with third parties.
This ruling came at an interesting time in the world of online advertising, as the general rise in use of ad blockers by consumers had begun to force major changes in the ways in which marketers can advertise to consumers online.
FCC Repeals, ISPs Rejoice
In March of this year, congress proposed legislation—later signed into law by President Trump—to reverse the new FCC privacy rules that were put in place just a few months prior during Obama’s final months in office.
This repeal re-opened the door for ISPs to join the likes of Facebook and Google in the online advertising industry. With this repeal, ISPs can now collect, share and use consumer data in almost any way they want, without first explicitly receiving the consumer’s consent.
The most thought-provoking piece of this ruling is that your ISP tends to know much more personal information about you than a Facebook or Google ever could, like your real home address, phone number, social security