Last week, the US Senate voted to overturn a set of rules governing how internet service providers (ISPs) can collect and use information on their customers, laws that were approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Barack Obama, just days before Donald Trump was voted into office.
The data in question is fairly definable, and it's separated into two main categories, dubbed “sensitive” and “non-sensitive.” Here’s breakdown of the type of data that falls into each category.
In the FCC's rules, the data in the sensitive category can’t be used or sold to advertisers and other parties.
In basic terms, the rollback of the rule is a bad thing for privacy advocates or really anyone who would prefer to keep their browsing history to themselves.
Before the FCC rules, ISPs were governed based on Section 222 of the Communications Act, a much vaguer set of restrictions on what communications companies can do with customer information.
"We supported the FCC’s broadband privacy rules because they were clear and strong; without them, the privacy protection framework for ISPs will revert back to the previous [Customer Proprietary Network Information] rules, overseen by a Chairman [Ajit Pai] who seems disinclined to enforce established pro-user policies," said Denelle Dixon, Chief Business and Legal Officer at Mozilla, in an interview with TechRadar.