Extra, Extra, read all about it! Internet privacy under assault! Net neutrality coming to an end! Typical reporting by the main stream media; not necessarily true in this case. Yes congress, under pressure from ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) and some commercial interests, have passed a bill that could allow ISP’s to release traffic information; but not user or source identities (unless a court order asks for that). However, this very information has been available to advertisers, spammers, and similar such ilk for quite some time. In order to access this kind of data, they merely had to pay the owners of the destination websites to provide their traffic information.
First off, this isn’t happening immediately; Congress is not in direct control of the behavior of ISP’s. This is the provence of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and it will require a rules making on their part in order to change what ISP’s can and cannot divulge and how much remuneration may be charged. Back in 2015 the FCC, responding to law changes a few years before, performed a rules making resulting in the current privacy and net neutrality rules. In summary:
As a refresher, that rule, which the Commission passed in Feb. 2015, sets down three bright-line rules for internet service providers:
. Broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
. They may not impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of content, application, services, or any classes thereof.
. They may not favor some internet traffic over other internet traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—no paid prioritization or fast lanes
Oddly enough I don’t see any reference here to net privacy and I am not trying to confuse the issue; rather, I am trying to make a point, that the FCC continues its support for the safety of the internet user and his or her choice for a desired level of privacy. The new law opens the door for the FCC to allow (at the FCC’s sole discretion), through new rules, for the ISP’s to have the same opportunity to make money from describing internet traffic in bulk to potential buyers as the web hosts have had for many years.
Any time the FCC makes or alters rules, there exists the potential for unanticipated consequences; but what those consequences may be will have to wait until the FCC acts. In the mean time, very little has changed in the last 2 years regarding our privacy, access to information, priority of traffic, or safety while surfing. If you have questions about how the laws impact you or your business, please call Benediktson Computer at 575-956-9723 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org