“The Internet is buzzing this week over a House vote Tuesday to permanently bar proposed FCC regulations regarding data collection and use first published in December from taking effect,” Larry Downes writes for Forbes. “The rejected regulations were a radical departure from policies enforced by the Federal Trade Commission since the dawn of the commercial Internet. They would have required ISPs—and only ISPS—to obtain affirmative consent or “opt-in” from every individual user before colleting and using information for any purpose, including the placement of contextual advertising.”

Downes writes, “Congress was right to disapprove them.”

“But just to be clear, the net impact on your privacy of this action, assuming President Trump approves the resolution, will be absolutely zero,” Downes writes. “In part, that’s because the proposed rules never took effect. They would have applied only to ISPs, moreover, who currently do little advertising. Congress’s disapproval does not authorize ISPs or anyone else to ‘sell’ customer data or investigate your web browsing history. It does not represent the ‘death of online privacy.'”

“Even if the proposed rules had not been rejected, however, they would have had no effect on how data about your web browsing and other interactions with content providers are collected and used. Instead, the proposed rules would have only limited efforts by ISPs to enter the market for Internet advertising,” Downes writes. “That’s a market increasingly dominated by just two companies: Google and Facebook. As a new study from eMarketer noted earlier this month, Google now accounts for over 40% of the $83 billion digital ad market and nearly 80% of total US search ad revenues. With the two incumbents firmly in control of Internet advertising , the FCC’s proposed barriers to entry for new entrants, like similar efforts to keep Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other sharing economy services from competing with established transportation and hotel companies, made no economic sense. Which is why Congress has now moved to reject the proposed rules permanently.”

Tons more – including “why are media reports getting this story so wrong” – in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier, “Google’s loss of influence over the U.S. federal government is a Very Good Thing™ for competition.”

This does not, of course, preclude the need for a VPN, especially on public Wi-Fi.

We use TunnelBear’s VPN service (especially while using public Wi-Fi) and they offer unlimited data for $49.99 billed yearly which is less than $4.17/month.

Privacy 101: Why you need a VPN – March 31, 2017
Congress to US citizens: Online privacy isn’t dead, those who want it will just have to pay for it – March 30, 2017
U.S. Congress sends repeal of FCC broadband privacy rules to President Trump for signature – March 29, 2017
Congress votes to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules – March 28, 2017
U.S. Senate votes to overturn Internet privacy rules – March 23, 2017

Under President Trump, Obama ally Google may face policy setbacks, including roll back of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 18, 2016
Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party – November 16, 2016
WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010