Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New FCC Chairman Begins Attacks on Internet Privacy
"Newly minted Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai just granted the telecom industry its wish: he has blocked new requirements that Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast apply common sense security practices to protect your private data. By suspending the FCC's proposed data security rules for ISPs, Pai is pitting Internet users against the very companies we trust to get us online. And the ISPs will continue to win—unless we fight back. Internet users won a significant victory last year when the FCC issued its Broadband Privacy Rules. As part of these rules, ISPs would be required to protect their customers' sensitive information. For instance, ISPs would need to take reasonable steps to protect Social Security numbers, financial information, health information, and Web browsing data against hackers. In the wake of major ISPs like Comcast suffering huge data breaches, this would clearly be sound policy—but Chairman Pai apparently disagrees. And of course, ISPs are gleeful about his decision because they'd prefer not to be scrutinized when they fail to properly protect your data. Unfortunately, this isn’t the worst of it. Republicans in Congress are planning a much bigger assault on the Internet, by making it illegal for the FCC to protect consumer privacy online. With heavy support from the cable and telephone industry, they are hoping to use a rare and far reaching tool known as a Congressional Review Act resolution, which would not only completely eliminate all of the FCC's broadband privacy rules (not just the data security rule), it would prohibit the FCC from ever enacting any "substantially similar" privacy rules in the future."

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