In a major setback to internet activists and advocates of online freedom, President Trump signed a bill which leaves the online behavior of an individual vulnerable to various threats. The Bill is aimed to repeal the internet privacy regulations recommended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last year.
As it is reported by VPN service guide website – Anta.net, the Bill has been passed into a law and gives the freedom to internet service providers (ISP) to snoop on a user’s browsing habits to create targeted advertising. The ISPs now can freely sell your personal details to third party companies without the specific approval of the customer. The information that can be left exposed may include an individual’s financial information, his contact and location, medical data and family information.
The Executive Director of Mozilla, Mark Surman proposed VPN as the best way to defend one’s online privacy while also advocating Tor and encrypted messaging tools like Signal to fight back with the law.
The Bill had also received severe criticism from various privacy advocates and even ACLU commented that the Congress should have prevented the corporate pressure of making profit a priority than the rights of an individual. They also believed that most Americans wanted their personal internet information to be safely protected. It should be mentioned that none of the Democrats had voted to pass the repeal on the rules that were taken up by the FCC in the last days of Obama administration. Interestingly, a coalition of 46 Senate Democrats requested President Trump to consider not signing the bill last week.
The information about the passing of the new law was also different from the other Bills or executive orders that Trump loves to publicize on the media. The news was disclosed on Monday through a White House Statement, as reported by Reuters. White House explained that the intention behind the law was to create a level playing field between the various ISPs and organizations like Facebook and Google.
The companies already use the vast personal user data to target consumers with better and relevant advertisements. The ISPs had long argued on this point and urged the government for granting them the freedom to harvest personal data.
ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T released a statement on Friday saying that they are not going to voluntarily sell the information of a customer. But this was not enough to keep the tensions at bay when many internet users still use questionable methods like torrents to share and access copyrighted material. But most of the users had already learned to use torrent anonymously as the concerns on piracy had been a long-term issue. The law has yet again exposed the need to take the responsibility of internet privacy in one’s own hands.