US senators strike down rules to protect internet users online data

24 March 2017

US senators yesterday voted to strike down rules to protect consumer data from internet providers, in a move aimed at making it easier for service providers to sell customers' net habits to advertisers.

Under the rules, providers are prohibited from abusing the data they gathered on their customers as they browsed the web on cellphones and computers. The rules were approved last year over objections from Republicans who argued the regulations went too far.

Welcoming the vote industry groups said, " Our industry remains committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of the personal information of our customers,'' said NCTA - The Internet and Television Association, a trade group representing major cable providers. ''We support this step toward reversing the FCC's misguided approach and look forward to restoring a consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and deserve.''

The FCC had last October passed the online privacy rules to regulate the advertising practices of internet service providers.

Critics of the privacy regulations say they were too onerous and left service providers facing stricter regulations than websites such as Facebook and Google, which also collected consumer data.

Privacy and consumer advocates like the ACLU, Public Knowledge and Free Press slammed the senate vote while trade groups praised the move.

In his speech on the senate floor, Wednesday night, en, Flake said the FCC regulations were an example of a ''bureaucratic power grab.''

''Passing this CRA will send a powerful message that federal agencies can't unilaterally restrict constitutional rights and expect to get away with it,'' Flake said.

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