Before leaving the White House the Obama administration passed a resolution to help protect American internet users from having their data sold and leveraged without their consent. While the plan hadn’t officially passed in to law, the landmark legislation provided broad strokes to ensure consumers were aware of how their information was being used.
The rules, which had not yet gone into effect, would have required Internet service providers to get your permission before collecting and sharing your data. The providers have data on your web browsing history, app usage and geo-location.
Providers would also have been required to notify customers about the types of information collected and shared.
Data privacy has been a growing concern for internet users around the world. Connectivity has become ingrained in our daily lives and debate continues as to what rights from the offline world should be handled in the digital realm.
Wired Magazine had this to say:
Broadband ISPs are essentially utilities, like postal mail and the telephone. Subscribers have little or no competitive choice as to which provider to use. ISPs know our identities, and their position gives them the technical capacity to surveil users in ways that others cannot. It makes sense to ensure consumers can choose whether to share data related to their internet usage.
Some observers are questioning what the motives for this rollback are, but as the Washington Post points out, it’s primarily about money:
If Trump signs the legislation as expected, providers will be able to monitor their customers’ behavior online and, without their permission, use their personal and financial information to sell highly targeted ads — making them rivals to Google and Facebook in the $83 billion online advertising market.
As we wait to see what the outcome will be, it is becoming more apparent that people around the world need to start taking their privacy seriously.