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What the death of broadband privacy rules means

On Tuesday, House Republicans said the privacy rules were unfair to the market, subjugating broadband providers to stricter standards, while allowing internet companies such as Google and Facebook to continue collecting users' data without their expressed consent.

The measure now awaits President Donald Trump's signature to become law.

WASHINGTON -US lawmakers have voted to roll back rules that could prevent internet service provider (ISP) companies from selling users' data to third parties without their consent.

Some privacy advocates said they will encourage the European Union to re-examine Privacy Shield, an agreement that allows companies to move customer data between the EU and the USA, in light of the congressional vote on the ISP privacy rules.

"I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to ensure that consumers' online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework", said current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, in a statement after the vote. In addition to repealing the previously-enacted rules, the resolution prohibits the FCC from passing any new privacy restrictions to protect users.

Privacy advocates say the rules are necessary to protect broadband customers, but critics say the FCC's rules subjected ISPs to much stronger privacy regulations than web-based companies like Google and Facebook. The Free Press advocacy group said major Silicon Valley companies shied away from the fight over the rules because they profit from consumer data. Broadband providers don't now fall under FTC jurisdiction, and advocates say it has historically been a weaker agency than the FCC.

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"Last year, the Federal Communications Commission pushed through, on a party-line vote, privacy regulations created to benefit one group of favoured companies over another group of disfavored companies", Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, said in a statement.

Trump has not talked as president about net neutrality but in 2014 tweeted he opposed net neutrality. The American Civil Liberties Union urged Trump to veto the resolution, appealing to his populist side.

"If S.J.Res. 34 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law". In doing so, the door will be open for ISPs to do anything they like with the data of United States citizens.

Democrats say consumers have a choice whether to use a search engine, social network or an app, but few have choices among what broadband provider to choose, said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

The US House of Representatives has voted to repeal regulations that restrict how internet providers can use customer data. "It's just allowing internet providers to compete with the other firms who are already selling your data anyway".

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