On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to repeal a bill by former President Barack Obama that forced internet service providers (ISPs) to have the consent of their users before sharing their information with third parties. The new guideline allows telecommunication companies to sell all kinds of data from Internet users, from their browsing history to their location, the registration/use of applications, and/or the type of device from which they use the network.

Companies such as Verizon, AT&T or Comcast may from now on commercialize the private information of their customers and sell that information to advertisers.

For Republicans (the legislation was passed in full with votes from that party) it makes sense to end regulations that they consider excessive. In addition, telecom firms argued that the privacy laws to which they were subject were much more stringent than those affecting Google or Facebook.

What does it mean for Internet users?

The law drafted by the Obama administration in October, which would have come into effect later this year, required ISPs to explicitly approve their clients' access to their information, as well as special permissions to access the following:

  • Location
  • Financial information
  • Medical information
  • Information about children
  • Social security numbers
  • Search history
  • Application usage log
  • Content of communications

In addition, the regulation required ISPs to give their clients the option of not sharing less sensitive information, such as their email address.

But none of that will be effective. The vote in the House of Representatives just canceled it. Donald Trump is expected to sign the order in the coming days.

FCC ensures the protection of privacy of internet users

Ajit Pai, the new director of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that the repeal will allow competition in the digital world to be more balanced.

"We will work to ensure that the privacy of Internet users is protected in a complete and consistent manner," he said. "I want people in the United States to know that the FCC will work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that the privacy of internet users is protected completely and consistently," he added. (Washington Post).