MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The future of online privacy is in the hands of President Trump.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to repeal internet privacy protections approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October by the Obama administration. The rules, which hadn’t yet been enacted, would have required internet service providers, like Verizon or Comcast, to get your permission before collecting and sharing your data.
In a 50-48 vote along party lines, the Senate voted a week earlier to relax the rules on who gets to sell this information.
The White House said it “strongly supports” the repeal.
In 2014, Trump defended net neutrality, the idea that the web remains uncensored and unrestricted to the public, without discriminating against the user, website or platform.
Proponents of net neutrality often lump internet privacy into the argument.
If Trump signs the measure, big telecom won’t need your permission to pass off your browsing history and other personal information. It’s a valuable commodity to companies who want to know what you buy and search for, and something search engines and streaming video sites are already collecting. But internet providers would be able to collect even more — as in, all of it.
Critics say repealing the rule is a step back in the fight for online privacy.
But Eric Tamashasky, with the St. Joseph County Cybercrimes Unit in Indiana, told CNN he doesn’t think it would have have provided much protection to users anyway.
“Even if the rules had gone into effect, it’s difficult to see what change the user would notice,” he said. “One of the things that we’ve experienced everywhere on the internet is that consent to collection of personal material, it happens with every site you go to.”
Tamashasky believes the fight in Washington was less about privacy and more about who gets control.
“This is, I think, a political disagreement as to what alphabet soup agency should be making the rules,” said Tamashasky. “It really doesn’t go to, what’s the best rule, what’s the most effective rule.”
If the rules are enacted, the FCC would be in charge of regulation. Opponents argue that the Federal Trade Commission should oversee internet providers.