Internet Privacy And You

Download Audio

Congress is striking down internet privacy rules from the Obama years. We’ll look at why and what it means for your life online.

This June 19, 2015, file photo, shows the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
This June 19, 2015, file photo, shows the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you,” sang Sting. These days, nothing watches you as closely as the web. Millions do everything – everyday life plus many of the most intimate and important things – online. Last year, the Obama administration moved to rein in how much of your online life could be sliced, diced, and sold by internet service providers. Yesterday, the Republican House followed the Senate in voting to block those protections. This hour On Point, privacy, the ISPs and you. — Tom Ashbrook


Alina Selyukh, technology reporter at NPR and host of NPR’s All Tech Considered blog. (@alinaselyukh)

Dallas Harris, policy fellow at Public Knowledge, where her work focuses on technology transition issues and privacy. (@dallashpk)

Doug Brake, senior telecommunications and policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, where he specializes in broadband policy, wireless enforcement and spectrum-sharing mechanisms. (@dbrakeITIF)

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR News: As Congress Repeals Internet Privacy Rules, Putting Your Options In Perspective — "President Trump is expected to sign into law a decision by Congress to overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers. Passed by the Federal Communications Commission in October, the rules never went into effect. If they had, it would have given consumers more control over how ISPs use the data they collect. Most notably, the rules would have required explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data — like financial or health information, or browsing history — were to be shared or sold."

Public Knowledge: Setting the Record Straight: What the Congressional Review Act Means for the FCC’s Broadband Privacy — "It’s time for Congressional leaders to reassure Americans that their sensitive, personal information will be properly protected. The FCC broadband privacy rules were a strong step in that direction. They should not be repealed, and if they are, at a minimum Congressional leaders should be clear about how they will be legally replaced without weakening protections."

ITIF: Why the FCC Broadband Privacy Order Deserves to Be Thrown on the Scrap Heap of Telecom History -- "The FCC’s deviation from the historical privacy protections of the FTC framework has the potential to significantly disrupt ongoing dynamic competition in innovative new uses of Internet data, ultimately slowing the rate of growth of broadband deployment and adoption and also degrading the broadband users’ online experience. Beyond the obvious opportunities to put downward pressure on broadband prices through more targeted advertising, data is increasingly becoming a key fuel for innovation. Recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are predicated on 'training' algorithms on large pools of data, so to effectively shut data collected by broadband providers out of this burgeoning field would be a mistake."

This program aired on March 29, 2017.


More from On Point

Listen Live