405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

House Vote Could Allow Internet Providers to Sell Browsing Habits

31-Mar-2017

In a blow to online privacy, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block online privacy regulations issued by the Obama administration near the end of his term.

The regulations were in the form of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that was intended to allow consumers control over how their information was used, and it would require internet providers to protect user information.

However, House Republicans argued that this rule "played favorites" with internet companies. For example, Google does not have to get user permission before tracking which sites consumers visit. By allowing them to collect this information, and not internet providers such as Cox, At&T, and Comcast, critics say, they create an unfair discrepancy. Voting to block this regulation, they say, levels the playing field.

But online privacy advocates say that blocking these regulations creates a significant gray area in which internet companies are told to protect consumer information, but they are not specifically told what must be protected or how it must be protected. In other words, it paves the way for internet providers to sell consumer information. 

The House voted 215-205, almost straight party line, to reject the FCC rule, and the measure now passes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., supported the rule and opposes the Republican vote to reject it, saying, "Overwhelmingly, the American people do not agree with Republicans that this information should be sold, and it certainly should not be sold without your permission. Our broadband providers know deeply personal information about us and our families."

Facebook and Google already sell information about user browsing habits--it is the reason for the "targeted ads" that show up in your Facebook feed, your Google searches, and your Gmail "promotions." Legislators who rejected the FCC rule say that this unfairly targets  which companies can use your data and how. By rejecting the rule, they say they level the playing field in allowing internet providers to get a share of the $83 billion online advertising market.

But that "fairness" for internet providers can certainly be unfair to consumers whose personal information may be compromised as a result. It seems unlikely that many individual consumers would support deregulation that would benefit big businesses at their own expense. 

Internet privacy is a hot-button issue. As privacy erodes in this arena, so do our rights. 



All News

More News

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

Oklahoma County Jail Deaths Continue at Record-Breaking Pace
01-May-2017

Last year, the Oklahoma County Jail had a record breaking number o..

Finding Solutions for Mental Illness in Criminal Justice
28-Apr-2017

When it comes to mental health care treatment in the United States..

Catholic Charities Employee Charged with Embezzlement
24-Apr-2017

A Norman woman has been charged with three felony embezzlement cou..

14 Oklahoma Drug Offenders Have Sentences Commuted
17-Apr-2017

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has commuted the sentences of 14 inm..

OKC Man Pleads Guilty to Rape of Child and Murder of Newborn Son
14-Apr-2017

An Oklahoma City man has been sentenced to life plus 20 years in p..

Legislators Pull Felony Drug Possession Bill
10-Apr-2017

When Oklahoma voters filled their ballots in November, they approv..

×