President Trump will sign the controversial reversal of broadband privacy rules that the United States Congress barely managed to pass on Tuesday, the White House said earlier today. The bill that polarized the U.S. political scene and saw strong opposition from the Democratic Party will reverse the rules preventing Internet service providers (ISPs) from selling or otherwise sharing user browsing data without explicit consent. The original legislation that is now set to be reversed was approved under the former Obama administration and hasn't yet gone into effect, which likely won't ever happen given latest developments. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed President Trump's intention to sign the polarizing bill but couldn't say when exactly the signature will be given.
The regulations that are now set to be revoked were adopted by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last October and also mandated ISPs to put more effort into protecting the privacy of their users, in addition to preventing them from sharing their data with third parties without obtaining permission. The bill overturning the rules was passed without support from a single Democrat and was heavily criticized by the opposition party and numerous privacy advocacy groups, most of whom are arguing there is no reason for anyone who doesn't stand to financially benefit from the new (lack of) legislation to vote for the controversial reversal. Republicans who managed to pass the bill are claiming the rules they intend to reverse were never in effect, with some proponents of the move saying there's no valid rationale behind preventing ISPs from doing what Internet giants like Google and Facebook already do.
The latest turn of events is said to be a prelude to another bill that will aim to overturn net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2015. The regulations enacted under President Obama reclassified broadband Internet providers as public utilities and required them to treat all data, i.e. online traffic equally, in a way that doesn't directly discourage consumers from using certain websites or competitors. The rules were already tested by zero-rating practices adopted by some wireless carriers in the country but will now likely be completely reversed later this year under the new FCC chairman Ajit Pai who previously said net neutrality was "a mistake."