Trump Signs Bill Letting Internet Service Providers Sell User Browsing Data

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Internet privacy rules put in place under President Barack Obama are no more.

President Donald Trump on Monday signed a new law setting stage for service providers to sell people’s browser history.

Last week, Congress sent President Trump the legislation that kills an online privacy regulation — a move that could eventually allow internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers.

The Federal Communications Commission rule issued in October was designed to give consumers greater control over how internet service providers share information. But critics said the rule would have stifled innovation and picked winners and losers among Internet companies.

The House voted 215-205 to reject the rule. The Senate had already voted to the block it.

On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had called on Trump to veto the bill.

“If President Trump clicks his pen and signs this bill, consumers will be stripped of critical privacy protections in a New York minute,” he said.

But Trump signed the bill.

The bill was part of an extensive effort that Republicans have undertaken to void an array of regulations issued during the final months of Obama’s tenure. But the vote was closer this time with 15 Republicans siding with Democrats in the effort to keep the rule in place.

Internet companies like Google don’t have to ask users’ permission before tracking what sites they visit. Republicans and industry groups have blasted that discrepancy, saying it was unfair and confusing for consumers.

But proponents of the privacy measure argued that the company that sells you your internet connection can see even more about consumers, such as every website they visit and whom they exchange emails with. That information would be particularly useful for advertisers and marketers.

Republicans repeatedly discounted the privacy benefits generated by the rule. Over the last two months, they’ve voted to repeal more than a dozen Obama-era regulations in the name of curbing government overreach.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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