On Thursday, the Senate took their initial step towards blocking regulations that restrict how big technological companies sell and share your data. Most digital activists argue that the prospect will be a great loss for the privacy of online users.
The Senate passed this joint resolution on the party line of 50 to 48. This means that the Federal Communication will not have the power to enforce the rules it approved last year during the Democratic rein. These regulations would ban Internet service providers such as cell phone and cable companies from selling data without the consent of the owner.
However, this vote does not have a great immediate impact. These measures can only become law if they pass the House and get signed by President Donald Trump. So far, there is no timetable that the house can use to take action. Currently, the FCC regulations that this measure would overturn are not scheduled to take effect until December.
If these new regulations are signed into law, the measures will allow for a two-track system of control that will treat internet service providers (ISP) differently from web companies like Facebook and Google. The main role of FCC is to oversee the Internet Service Providers. However, web companies are usually regulated by the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the rules that were set by the Democratic majority on the FCC last year, the Internet service providers should explicitly seek for your permission before they share your personal information. Sharing is usually turned on by default on most web-based ad networks, and you have to dig through the settings and menus before you opt out of it.
Both Facebook and Google control between 54 to 60 percent of all the digital ad revenue from U.S depending on who is doing the calculation. This is why the Senate went ahead to block any move that will see ISP seek for your permission before sharing your personal information.
It is believed that Facebook and Google chopped up to 90% of the earnings from the new ads in the 1st half of 2016. This is the period for which Price Water House Coopers U.S did a computation of the figures from Internet Advertising Bureau.
The implication is that the other players are left to fight for the remaining 10%. The phone and cable companies stated that the Senate laid a level ground for the remaining tiny playing field. The primary role of wireless carriers is to safeguard the privacy of consumers. In a statement, carriers said that they support uniformity and clarity across the U.S digital economy.
The Senate vote was also welcomed by Ajit Pai who is the new chairperson of the Republican-Led FCC. He said that his objective is to ensure there is a level playing ground through the vindication of uniform privacy. However, advocates of online privacy like Neema Singh Guliani are against the Senate vote. According to them, the Senate cannot protect the profits of big internet companies while sacrificing the private lives of the American people. All eyes are waiting to see whether the House will pass these new regulations and whether President Donald Trump will append his signature.