US Broadband Privacy Rules Officially Repealed By Trump

President Trump officially repealed broadband Internet privacy rules that were adopted by the United States Federal Communication Commission (FCC) under the former Obama administration, the White House confirmed. The 45th U.S. President signed the repeal on Monday, shortly after the Republican-led Congress barely managed to pass the polarizing bill that was harshly criticized by opposition and privacy advocacy groups. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently confirmed Trump's intention to sign the repeal of the FCC's broadband privacy rules but didn't provide a specific time frame for when the signature will be given. The signing of the bill wasn't particularly publicized and was only disclosed in a statement given to the media on Monday evening.

Opponents of the bill claim the repeal of the FCC's privacy rules is a massive blow to consumers as it allows Internet service providers (ISPs) to sell and share user browsing data without obtaining explicit consent from their customers, adding how there's not a single pro-consumer reason for the controversial bill. Some of the more vocal opponents of the repeal even vowed to purchase and publicize browsing histories of Congress members who voted for the bill, though most major Internet providers in the country already stated they have no intention of selling or otherwise sharing identifiable user data to third parties. Proponents of the bill argue that the FCC rules being revoked were never in force, having only been voted for last October, adding how it isn't fair to prevent ISPs from harvesting user data in the same way that Internet giants like Google and Facebook already do. The latter argument was previously criticized as a false equivalence, with some privacy advocates arguing that ISPs shouldn't be (de)regulated in the same manner websites are seeing how they aren't offering their services for free.

The polarizing repeal of broadband privacy rules is said to be a prelude to a larger legal fight against net neutrality rules that the FCC will likely be looking to repeal later this year under the Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai. As the U.S. debate on online privacy and net neutrality is heating up, an update on the situation is expected to follow soon.

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