Congress to US citizens: Online privacy isn’t dead, those who want it will just have to pay for it

“Tuesday’s congressional vote to repeal U.S. restrictions on broadband providers doesn’t mean that online privacy is dead. Consumers will just have to pay for it,” Michael Kan writes for IDG News Service. “The coming repeal, which President Trump is expected to sign into law, paves a clearer path for broadband providers to sell customers’ internet browsing history and other online data, without their consent.”

“However, the privacy rule rollback might have an opposite effect too. Expect broadband providers and other internet services to emerge offering online privacy protections — but at a price,” Kan writes. “To some degree, that’s already happening. Consumers worried about the privacy rule rollback have been flocking to VPN (Virtual Private Network) services, which can encrypt an internet user’s online connection. This can prevent broadband providers from learning what you’re browsing… But the catch is that many VPNs aren’t free. They usually require a subscription that costs about $10 a month. ”

“Consumers on a budget have some solace, though. The internet already offers a level of free privacy protection,” Kan writes. “It comes in the form of HTTPS, a protocol that internet companies are using to encrypt the data exchanged between a user’s browser and a website. That means broadband providers can spy on what websites you visit, but not the content you view.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 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.

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
FCC approves LTE-U devices; ‘big win for wireless consumers’ – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai – February 23, 2017
U.S. FCC chairman wields weed whacker, takes first steps against so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 3, 2017
How so-called ‘net neutrality’ will fare under President Trump – January 26, 2017
New FCC chairman Ajit Pai vows to take a ‘weed whacker’ to so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 24, 2017
President Trump elevates Ajit Pai to FCC Chairman – January 23, 2017


  1. If you use Apple’s Safari Web Browser “Private Window” option, wouldn’t that make this story a mute point?

    And as if those in the webosphere doesn’t already know my browsing history, thanks Google ads.

    1. No. When you use Private Browsing windows, Safari doesn’t save your browsing history, and it asks websites you visit not to track you. Safair’s Private Window does not prevent your ISP from being able to track you. You’ll want a VPN (virtual private network) that does not log user activity for that (as MacDailyNews suggests with TunnelBear).

      1. Safari asking websites not to track you is like asking horny teenagers not to fuck- it does little good and only the most gullible have any faith in it.
        This is the typical result of Republican “freedom”. To keep the privacy rights you once had, you now have to pay a third party for a VPN. And as to impact upon business, all that backhauling of data adds to network congestion and slows down the net in general.

        But the ISPs get to data mine their customers to sell ads. That’s making Amurrikah great again.

        1. The fact Apple does not provide VPN services or intregrate VPN protection in Safari is evidence enough that Apple is just as eager as any other company to collect and analyze your personal browsing history.

      2. What prevents VPNs from selling your data? Would that require regulation?

        More to the point: why do you cheer for the party that places profits above the privacy guarantees explicitly listed (or implied since technology marches on) in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution?

        The government is not a business. It is not the goal of government to let its citizens be pickpocketed by granting special privileges to corporations. Freedom to buy products is not freedom. Both corrupt parties long ago forgot that.

        1. Exactly….
          Whats to prevent anyone in the path? Isps, portals, googles, vpns, browsers..websites of anykind..etc.. … …

          That is why i liked DevGregs comment “Safari asking websites not to track you is like asking horny teenagers not to fuck- it does little good and only the most gullible have any faith in it”

          Except i believe that applies accross the board !

          To me privacy is a thing of the past… for most… unless u are a serious tech guru .
          One of the perils of having the world at your fingertips.

        2. As for the second part of your post…
          Imo it is a bit naive or rather its a bit idialistic …. with all due respect though .

          “The government is not a business. It is not the goal of government to let its citizens be pickpocketed by granting special privileges to corporations…………”

          Buisness / corps = money
          Money rules ! Including governments ……


      3. What? …no copy/paste screed of adulatory crap? No triumphalism? no arse licking?
        You can demur but you won’t be forgotten here for your endless stupidity and you will be a victim just like everyone else. This is just the start of the wholesale destruction of daily liberties even you take for granted, sold to the highest bidder, rammed, reamed and right-royally ripped off, all in the cause of the most corrupt, narcissistic clown imaginable.

    2. Per Apple’s website:

      Private Browsing protects your private information and blocks some websites from tracking your search behavior. Safari won’t remember the pages you visit, your search history, or your AutoFill information.

      Private browsing is useful for keeping your local browsing history clean but, per Apple’s own information, it only blocks *some* websites from tracking you. I strongly suspect that it has no impact at all on your ISP’s ability to parse your browsing data.

      VPN is the way to go if you want to increase your level of privacy.

        1. I agree, ripabo. What’s wrong with the “opt-in” approach rather than the “pay to opt-out” scenario favored by the GOP?

          Hey, Fwhatever…why are you suddenly so trusting of others when you typically exhibit borderline paranoia? Do you somehow believe that ISPs are somehow morally superior to other businesses? Or could it be that your attitude is driven simply by partisan considerations because the GOP is pushing this change? Yeah, that sounds like the most likely explanation. After all, the GOP and its members never do anything stupid or tell lies.

          How would you like a “pay to opt-out” on your medical data, Fwhatever? Or publicizing your other activities, such as your grocery store and pharmacy purchases, the places from which you receive mail, your medical information, or your gun purchases? Where does it stop? If your concern is potential inequity between the rules for ISPs and others, then fine – craft a good rule that applies to all. I will believe it when I see it. Until then, this is just what it smells like – pandering to big business to enhance their profits. I just wish you guys would admit it rather than outgassing ridiculous smoke screen rationales for your actions.

          The ISPs are effectively providing a utility service, much like electricity, gas, water, etc., and dumb pipes should keep their freaking hands out of our data because I have very little choice in how I connect to the internet. At least with Google and similar companies I can try to avoid their spying. With my ISP, I am stuck unless I engage a third party service to thwart them.

      1. It sounds to me as if you are suggesting tiered pricing is fine, even in a monopoly setting. Many of us have only one choice for broadband, so there is no competition to drive down prices. If I want broadband, I have to pay whatever my ISP wants. I kind of like the other concept better. If you want to sell my data, get my permission first. In fact, if you’re selling my data, why not give me a cut? Does that make me a libtard?

          1. Don’t forget about the monopoly part. If we had true competition, things would be different. But most of these big companies have either have de facto monopolies which they are permitted to have by local and state governments, or have bought up all the competition. Sounds like capitalism, but not the free market part.

        1. It’s kind a like the gas company saying, “hey on the days that we visit your property to read the meter, we’d like to come in and enjoy that ham sandwich in the fridge, because they’re our favorite and it’ll make the rest of the day more productive. You don’t have a problem with that do you?”

      2. Not this time! The Republicans repealing this are selling out our privacy. Democatss are on the right side of this one. I don’t say that often, but it is absolutely true on this topic.

        1. I truly wonder how this happened. I suspect Obama threw this one on the doorstep on his way out just to see what Trump would do with it. Obama didn’t like what he did, but wanted a laugh at Trump reversing it to make it fit his own desires. Reverse psychology at its finest!

          I didn’t want to say this in the prior post, as most can agree with it, and most will not like this – whichever side of the aisle you land on. I just find it funny.

      3. Sure, Fwhatever, it takes a whole lot of common sense to get our country into two long wars, guide the country into a massive economic collapse, and then say “no” to everything for the next eight years – even saying “no” to ideas formerly championed by Republicans.

        When you treat the opposition like crap for many years – especially the last eight years – you can not reasonably expect them to just shrug it off and support every asinine utterance that comes out of Trump’s rather odd-looking mouth. As has been made quite clear over the past couple of months, even a number of Republicans in Congress are unwilling to simple fall into line. I respect that. I do not respect you in the least, however.

      4. The reality is the current instantiation of the leaders of the Republican Party comes down to this:
        Business = very good = first priority (the bigger the better)
        Individuals = neutral (if neutral or beneficial to the interests of business); bad (if counter to the interests of business)
        Government = bad (if it is counter to the interests of business); extremely good (when proposed prohibited actions are counter to the morals of individual Republicans)
        Environment = don’t care (not good or bad, just ignore); bad (if it goes counter to the interests of business)
        Science = good (if business paid for and it help business); bad (if government paid for); extremely bad (if it goes counter to business)
        Social Services = extremely bad (there’s no money for businesses)
        Defense = extremely good (there’s LOTS and LOTS of money there for businesses)

        1. You’re giving them way too much credit. The current crop of repubs are not conservative. They are scientifically illiterate, selfish, corrupt, fiscally reckless chicken hawks withless common sense than the Good Lord gave a goose. Spending a decade as the obstructing party, they have no one left who knows how to compromise or craft a bill that offers the best long term good for the most people possible. But from the safety of their gerrymandered districts, they are happy to distract the public via grandstanding while their lobbyist buddies call in special favors.

          He ineptitude of the feckless democrats is nothing compared to the evil corruption — now we learn much of it Russian funded — that the political hacks on the right offer. They are for sale to the highest bidder and it shows every day.

      5. Common sense? How about fascism, greed, stupidity, and heartlessness? There are very few republicans left- only scumbags. How does one accept, let alone defend this? Putrid. Utterly disgusting.

        1. Supporting the current Republican party and being a devout Christian these days is totally oxymoronic.

          For those on the middle ground, they are either “Republican in name only” if they actually believes in and follow Christ’s (not the evangelical or other radicalized churches) teachings, or they’re a “Christian in name only” if they still support Trump and his enablers in the GOP.

    1. All the votes in the House and Senate were from “God’s Own Party” aka “Gang of Perverts” a mere handful of Republicans abstained in the House and 4-5 voted on the side of common sense (that would be against this bill written by TeleCom Lobbyists).

      The fact that Marsha Blackburn- the biggest Whore for the telecom lobby and most willfully ignorant member of Congress was the House Sponsor and Jeff Flake (the name says it all) was the Senate Sponsor should give you a good idea about the Republican caucus. If you are interested the most ignorant member of the House would be one Louis Buller Gohmert (think Gomer Pyle with a T on the end) of Texas District 1, he has redefined ignorant for the ages.

    1. Re b9Bot: “If we had a real president that had any brains we would not have to pay would we?”

      We had a President with Brains- Obama is without a doubt a very intelligent man- and the Republicans fought him tooth and nail. Now they have one who is either the most ignorant bastard to ever inhabit the office or the most corrupt- both titles currently held by other Republicans.

      Ignorant: George W Bush
      Corrupt: Richard Nixon or Warren G Harding

      The sad thing is that great former Republican Presidents like Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party.

      1. “The sad thing is that great former Republican Presidents like Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party.”

        That’s not really saying much, since all of those presidents are from before the 60s role reversals, where all the regressive Democrats shifted to the Republicans and progressive Republicans shifted to Democrats over civil rights and possibly other issues. All three would be more ideologically aligned with today’s Democrats.

        The real kicker is that *Ronald Reagan* would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party.

  2. Its nice to see Democrats and Republicans putting aside their differences in this time of mud sling partisan attacks to really screw it to the American citizens and further dilute the Bill of Rights. Good job you greedy selfish cockroaches!

    1. Not one Democrat voted for this Bill and every Republican Senator and almost every Republican Congressman did. So much for the pox on both your houses.

      The Democrats were on the good side (this time) and as usual, Republicans were for sale to the highest bidder.

  3. Term limits, congress having to use the SAME health care we use, no ridiculous life time retirement for those jerks even if they serve only one term, i.e., no retirement from congress AT ALL, and term limits, in case I didn’t say it. Bunch of jerks, all of them.

  4. So let me guess, ISPs charge us for the Internet services, and now they are free to make additional money of our privacy data? Congress, in one of its arguments, said that since Facebook or Google can use your privacy data, why not ISPs. But Facebook, Google etc. offers free services and make money of our data. That is not the business model on which ISPs operate. If ISPs gave users free internet services (or at least option of that to those who wanted it in exchange for privacy) then this will be a valid argument. Congress also argued that current privacy rules stifle innovation. Really? How so?

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