Trump Repeals Broadband Privacy Rules

US President Donald Trump signed a repeal of existing broadband privacy rules.

The Bill repeals regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc.

The rules had not yet taken effect but would have required internet providers to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.

The privacy practices of internet companies are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, while broadband providers fall under the F.C.C. Since the 1990s, the trade commission has policed the privacy practices of internet companies under its mandate to protect consumers from “unfair and deceptive practices.”

The F.T.C. requires internet companies to have privacy policies that the agency finds acceptable, and it conducts investigations into violations. Privacy advocates have criticized the trade commission for giving the companies too much freedom.

Broadband carriers all have privacy policies. They can be sued by private plaintiffs and investigated by Congress, as they were about a decade ago, when an intrusive surveillance technique of personal data trails, known as deep packet inspection, came to light.