What about one privacy rule for the internet, everywhere?

Written by on March 31, 2017 in Guest Blog with 1 Comment

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President Trump is about to sign a law rolling back previous administration’s internet privacy rules. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had a single global internet privacy law codifying how all participants should behave? It makes absolutely no sense to have a completely different set of regulations for the Google, Facebook or Netflix folks compared to the Verizon, Telstra or BT folks!! It’s time to level the playing field and get the same rulebook to everyone.

Much noise is being made about the latest Internet Privacy bill.

The White House

“The rule departs from the technology-neutral framework for online privacy administered by the Federal Trade Commission,” the Trump administration said. “This results in rules that apply very different regulatory regimes based on the identity of the online actor.”

The Broadband Industry

Broadband companies immediately celebrated the House vote. They promised they would honor their voluntary privacy policies, noting that violations would be subject to lawsuits.

“Today’s Congressional action to repeal the FCC’s misguided rules marks an important step toward restoring consumer privacy protections that apply consistently to all internet companies,” the NCTA, the cable industry’s top lobbying organization said in a statement.

“Today’s vote removing another set of unnecessary regulations is a win-win for consumers and their privacy,” said Jonathan Spalter, the chief executive of the broadband lobbying group US Telecom. “Online users will continue to have the consistent and strong privacy protections they require and the promise of continued innovation they expect from the internet.”

Democrats

Democratic lawmakers and regulators protested the vote, saying consumers had few options for high-speed internet service, which meant more government oversight of the companies was needed. Broadband providers have an expansive view into consumers’ online habits, including seeing what sites and apps are visited, which can expose sensitive information.

Republicans

“What we’ve created is confusion, and this is the way to rein in an agency that was overreaching,” said Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, who introduced the House bill to overturn the privacy rules. She used the Congressional Review Act in a procedure that lets lawmakers scrap regulations recently created by government agencies.

However, the fact remain that we are far from a single internet privacy rule that will govern or even guide the best behavior of all players in the global internet ecosystem.

Earlier this year, the EU took some steps to level the internet privacy playing field.  Back in January, officials in Brussels proposed new measures to curb Silicon Valley players who—up until now—have been largely immune from the ePrivacy Directive, which  requires telecoms operators to adhere to the rules on the confidentiality of communications and the protection of personal data.

As part of its planned overhaul, the European Commission, the executive wing of the European Union, said that it planned to beef up the measures by switching from a directive to a “directly applicable regulation” to ensure that the bloc’s 500 million citizens “enjoy the same level of protection for their electronic communications.” It claimed that businesses would also benefit from “one single set of rules.”

Over-The-Top services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Google’s Gmail can all but ignore the EU’s existing rules. The commission said that this needed to change.

While the EU has clearly stated its desire to redress the lack of balance in internet privacy, it is very often based on a knee-jerk reaction to the silicon-valley based companies.  Meanwhile in the US, things seemed to be going backwards or stalled in place.  Very often they even struggle on which regulatory body, the FCC or the FTC owns the issue.  Thankfully the EU has no lack or regulatory bodies, some of them are still warm. So, what hope do we have of getting a global solution for internet privacy regulation?  Maybe President Trump can figure this one out once he’s done with Tax reform and Obamacare…

More at nytimes and arstechnica

This article was first published on Pricing Data Plans.

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Jonathon Gordon

About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .

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  1. Avatar Ben Costly says:

    The Republicans are missing on the holistic view, they are missing on the fact that it’s the public that has voted in their favor and they are making decisions in favor on the businesses. Like how can they neglect the privacy of the people? It’s pure disparity. I have been an advocate of FCC but with this decision, all i have to look up to now is a VPN service. For the past three days all my efforts were invested in finding the best VPN provider and gladly I found out that PureVPN suffices my online privacy and security need. I hope someone can share their insight as well and help me in finalizing my decision. And for the bill, its pure nonsense.

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