ISP privacy rules repealed

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Rules that were aimed at protecting the online privacy of consumers hadn’t taken effect yet. Now they won’t.

President Donald Trump signed a law that repealed rules that were approved in October 2016 by Federal Communications Commission. Congress passed the law primarily along party lines. The rules, which had been expected to take effect later in 2017, would have made it easier for consumers to block internet service providers (ISP) from selling consumer data.

The data include so-called sensitive data, such as precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children’s information, Social Security numbers, web-browsing history, mobile-app-use history and the content of communications.

To our complete lack of surprise, major ISPs AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, which championed the repeal, insist that they remain committed to protecting the privacy of their customers’ data. The ISPs say they don’t sell your data and “have no plans to do so.” The rules, they say, were governmental overreach.

Of course, plans can change, and with no rule that prevents ISPs from selling your data, you have to take them at their word that they won’t. For the record, Verizon’s privacy policy specifically notes that it allows third parties to place cookies on advertisements that are on Verizon websites, mobile apps or devices that collect market information from consumers. Apparently, that doesn’t count as “selling your data.”