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Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.
PEDRO PARDO via Getty Images
PEDRO PARDO via Getty Images
Daniel Cooper
Daniel Cooper|@danielwcooper|March 9, 2017 9:02 AM

As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the resolution.

The rules require broadband providers to secure their customers' consent before they can sell their private data to marketing agencies. That information includes your precise geolocation, financial and health data, information about your children and your social security number. In addition, the rules forbade ISPs from storing your web browsing, app usage and contents of your text messages automatically.

Ajit Pai, current head of the FCC, has already moved to undermine the rules by halting their rollout late last month. Pai, who opposed move during his predecessor's tenure, claims that they favor one set of companies over another. He believes that limits on ISPs data-gathering are unfair given that social networks are exempt from the regulation.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement saying that "Congress is essentially allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell consumers' private information to the highest bidder." The organization added that "consumers have a right to control how these companies use their sensitive data."

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Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules