A vote by US politicians has removed existing rules that required that ISPs gained permission from their customers before selling their browsing histories.
The rules which were first brought in only last October were repealed by a narrow margin vote in the US senate. Politicians who lobbied for the rules to be removed said they were harmful and could stiffer economic growth.
The rules were originally drawn up by the FCC during the Obama administration and were due to come into force in December. But when President Trump came into power he appointed a new chairmain to the FCC – Ajit Pai – who reviewed the proposed rule and said that it was ‘likely to confuse customers’
With the rules dropped ISP are now free to gather information about their customers browsing history, app usage, produce purchases and any ads which they click on. They are then able to sell this data to any third parties without the customers consent.
A spokesman from the EFF said the the decision was a crushing loss for privacy and urged people to contact their representative to get the rules re-instated when it goes to the house of representatives.
Those who are concerned about what information their ISP is collecting are advised that they can use a VPN service to tunnel all their data so it’s not visible to the ISP. Unfortunately VPN services are usually an extra charge on top of their ISP bill so they would need to decide whether their privacy is worth paying extra for.