Internet providers are one step closer to harvesting your personal data and selling it to the highest bidder without permission.
In a tightly contested Senate vote on Thursday, FCC privacy regulations passed during the Obama presidency were overturned. This means telecoms giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon might soon start sharing your web browsing history and geo-location data to target ads -- and there'll be no legal mandate for them to ask you for permission.
After the narrow vote won by a 50-48 Republican majority, internet providers and their advocates were jubilant:
"We support this step towards reversing the FCC's misguided approach and look forward to restoring a consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and deserve," said a statement from the Internet and Television Association.
The vote dismantles an Obama-era FCC rule, passed last October, that ensures ISPs ask for permission before selling consumer data. The regulations were supposed to take effect by December 2017 at the earliest. But because the Senate voted it down, everyone with an internet connection is liable to have their healthcare, financial and family details shared and even sold at the behest of their provider to better serve ads. The new measure also makes the contents of your web browsing history fair game, which can’t make anyone feel comfortable.