Sunday, January 15, 2017

9.3 - Not Good News: internet consumer protection rules under attack

Not Good News: internet consumer protection rules under attack

Okay, more Not Good News, something I bet more of you will be interested in than the suffering in South Sudan. Which was very likely a very unfair thing to say but I said it anyway.

Anyway. Tom Wheeler, who surprised many with his pro-consumer leadership, is set to leave his position as chair of the FCC. Drooling at the prospect of TheRump becoming president and a shift in power at the FCC, the mega telecomms - including Comcast, Charter and Cox - are rushing to call on the agency to undo the historic win for consumer privacy achieved last fall.

Those rules are meant to keep Internet providers from abusing the data they collect on their customers as they use the Internet. Your Web browsing history, your geolocation logs, even the content of your emails are all available to your IP and when combined with your health and financial information, that is an enormous source of potential advertising revenue as well as the money to be made by selling that personal information to marketers and data brokers who will in turn sell it to others, spreading that personal information even more widely.

The FCC restricted the ability of IPs to amass, use, and share that information. And that is what the telecomms want to undo as their first strike in undoing the gains that have been made not only in privacy but in net neutrality.

Meanwhile, reports say that TheRump has asked Rupert Murdoch to make suggestions as to who should be the new chair of the FCC.

These sort of efforts have been blocked before and perhaps they will be again, but it will be an uphill battle. We could be, without hyperbole, facing the end of the Internet as we have known it.

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