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    Trump Kills Internet Privacy Rules, Ignores User Reality, Ex-FCC Official Says

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    A key adviser to Obama-era FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in an interview with Sputnik that US President Donald Trump’s reason for overturning Obama-era ban on sales of users' private data fails to take into account the difference between free website operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Andrew Feinberg — Trump’s rationale for approving a bill to kill web privacy regulations fails to take into account major differences between broadband internet service providers (ISPs) and companies like Facebook and Google and how they affect consumers, former Counselor to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Gigi Sohn, told Sputnik.

    On Thursday, the Trump administration said it supported a bill to overturn an Obama-era rule banning service providers from selling information related to customer internet habits to third parties. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed the new law would allow service providers to be treated as fairly as other web companies.

    “There are plenty of reasons to treat ISPs different from Google and Facebook… they see every last bit of your internet traffic,” Sohn said. “They see every website you go to, every search you make, what device you’re using and where you’re located, whereas the edge companies only know a slice.”

    Congress, Sohn claimed, by passing this new legislation, has given Comcast, AT&T and Charter the right “to sell and share your most intimate information with anybody without your permission.”

    Sohn, who served as a key advisor to then-FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, said that Spicer’s argument that removing the regulations guarantees an "equal playing field" is off-base because broadband providers collect far more intimate information.

    Consumers also pay for their broadband service and deserve to have their data kept secret instead of letting their internet provider double-dip by selling their information after collecting their subscription fees, she added.

    Sohn also pointed out that another key difference between companies like Facebook and broadband internet providers is that consumers have a choice whether to use Facebook or not, whereas there is usually only one broadband provider available in a given area.

    Sohn rejected the idea put forth by Spicer that the way to level the playing field between so-called edge providers and broadband service providers is to eliminate regulations for both.

    "I don’t think the answer to the ‘unlevel playing field’ is stripping privacy protections from consumers so they have nothing. I think the answer is raising the bar, not lowering it,” Sohn claimed. “What Congress has done… is taken the bar away. It’s an absolute race to the bottom.”

    The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act that would overturn the rules after the Senate voted 50-48 to pass an identical resolution late last week. Trump pledged to sign the resolution in a Statement of Administration Policy released by the White House.

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