Last month, a bill passed the House and Senate repealing internet privacy rules put in place during the Obama administration that forced broadband companies to get permission from their customers before collecting or sharing their personal data. Americans held out hope that Donald Trump would hear the calls of Democrats and Republicans alike and veto the bill.
Today, Trump signed the bill repealing those internet privacy rules. Broadband companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast no longer need your permission to use your personal data, including web browsing history, geo-location, medical information, app usage, financial data, and even viewing habits—and yes, that includes that, too.
The bill passed Congress along party lines. Critics of the bill accused Republicans in Congress of selling off their privacy. Is this the “small government” that Republicans embrace with such reverence?
CNN reported that “Opponents of the privacy rules argued it would place an undue burden on broadband providers while leaving large Internet companies like Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) free to collect user data without asking permission.”
The difference, however, is that while consumers can choose to have a Facebook or Google account, there is rarely such freedom with internet providers, which operate essentially as regional monopolies.
With overwhelming opposition on both sides of the aisle, this bill signing is just one more egregious example of Trump’s poor governance and Congressional Republicans refusal to represent their constituents’ desires.
Voters will remember this in 2018.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.