Late on Monday night, President Trump finally signed congressional legislation to repeal the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s internet privacy rules.
The rules, approved by the previous Obama government and the former head of the FCC, would have forced internet service providers (ISPs) to seek permission from their users before logging and selling their information—including their browsing history, location and information about app usage.
Though some still held out hope that the president may halt the repeal of the yet-to-be-implemented rules, he showed no hesitancy in signing the legislation, effectively putting an end to the privacy rules and also preventing similar rules being put in place in future.
Privacy campaigners and organizations reacted with dismay, urging consumers to take privacy into their own hands. Kate Tommerello of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said:
“We urge state lawmakers and technology providers to look for ways to shore up individual privacy until Congress is ready to listen to the consumers who don’t want to trade away their basic privacy rights in order to access the internet.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will now oversee internet service providers, but have no authority to implement new rules—meaning that this lack of privacy protections is likely to be a permanent situation.
It seems that the only option now is for internet users to choose their ISPs wisely, and to protect their privacy themselves.