The blowback — and the accolades — came fast and furious after Congress completed its overturning of the nation’s strongest internet privacy protections for individuals. The House vote Tuesday allowing telecommunications companies to track and sell a customer’s online information with greater ease, after earlier Senate approval, is either freeing up the market or allowing internet highway robbery, making the rules more clear or doing away with them, depending on who is talking. The House voted 215-to-205, largely along party lines, in favor of dismantling rules created by the Federal Communications Commission in October. Those rules, which had been slated to go into effect later this year, had required broadband providers to get permission before collecting data on a user’s online activities.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills has been one of the leading Democrats on the issue.
“Broadband providers see literally everything you do online. Without these rules, these companies don’t have to ask before selling all that information. They don’t have to take reasonable measures to protect that information when they collect it,” Mr.
Doyle said Tuesday in a speech on the House floor. He said Internet service providers have an obligation to protect the privacy of their customers. Mr. Doyle elaborated during an interview Wednesday, saying the vote blocks three simple rules. Those rules would have required broadband companies to ask customers before sharing web browsing histories, to have reasonable safeguards to protect their data, and notify them in case of a breach.
“This is a net loss for consumers,” Mr. Doyle said.
Republicans say they are correcting a problem caused by a power grab by the Federal Trade Commission which, they say, stripped power from the Federal Communications Commission when it reclassified Internet service providers as common carriers. The result was two different sets of rules for providers and search engines. U.S. Rep.
Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, said the FTC rules are ineffective because they applied only to service providers and not search engines or social media sites. The measure Mr. Murphy supported “requires all segments of the Internet to be on equal footing with a consistent set of privacy rules, ensuring the smaller ISPs play by the same rules as the bigger players like Facebook and Google,” said his spokeswoman Carly Atchison. Interest in internet privacy tools spiked in recent weeks with focus on the congressional action, according to a Colorado company that sells internet encryption services.
“We do not log anything,” said Caleb Chen, digital currency advocate at Denver-based software company Private Internet Access. “Privacy and trust is our reputation.”
Mr. Chen said the spike in inquiries to his company began around March 7 when repeal discussions got underway and the surge in interest was continuing. Despite the potential to increase revenue from the repeal, PIA has been lobbying against rule change, including taking out three full-page ads in the New York Times, he said.
“In the short term, we might benefit, but it’s really the beginning of a long, slippery slope” to shrinking privacy, he said. “We don’t want to go there.”
Virtual private networks, like the one marketed by PIA, keep secret the sites consumers visit and other information, making them an option to prevent internet service providers from selling personal information to advertisers and others. The vote in Congress repealed rules preventing the use of private data by outside agencies. Advocates for the rule change say the repeal will provide revenue for big broadband infrastructure improvements.
But David Farber, an adjunct professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, said that may not happen without written agreements with internet service providers.
“Consumers need protection,” Mr. Farber said. “Unless there’s something in writing, sworn on a stack of FCC regulations, don’t hold your breath.”
With the rules, consumer social security numbers, location, internet browsing history and other private information could be delivered to advertisers for marketing purposes. Even the collection of such data poses risks, according to Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, a nonprofit internet freedom group based in Worcester, Mass.
“Once that data is collected and stored, it’s incredibly vulnerable to hackers and thieves,” she said. “It’s putting people at risk.”
“Your Internet service provider is the portal that everything goes through. It literally sees everything you do. They know every website you visited and how many times,” Mr. Doyle said. People who buy that information from them “can see patterns develop.
They’d be able to know where a person is when they’re online. They’d know your financial information, your personal data and have information about when your children are on the web and when they’re not.”
A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett, said the legislation allows both the FCC and FTC to retain their authorities to protect consumer privacy. The congressman “supported the resolution because the original rule by the Obama administration was poorly drafted. It unfairly punished one segment of this critical and growing industry,” Casey Contres said. “When it comes to the Internet, we need more innovation, not misguided government regulation.”
Others are counting on the market to regulate itself.
“Individuals and businesses operating within the context of the free market have a shared interest in protecting consumers’ privacy,” U.S. Rep.
Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, said in a written statement. “This is demonstrated by the many Internet service providers that voluntarily include an opt-in option in their privacy clauses, which requires affirmative consent from the consumer regarding the use of consumer data and thereby empowers consumers to decide if and when their data is shared.”
Mr. Doyle said that can’t work when 82 percent of American households are serviced by only one provider.
“If you don’t like Google you can use Bing, and if you don’t like Bing you can use DuckDuckGo, but with ISPs” most people have no choice, he said. Having lost the battle on the House floor, Mr. Doyle is now seeking a presidential veto. He and U.S.
Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., started an online petition at WhiteHouse.gov.
A spokeswoman for the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The New York Times contributed. Tracie Mauriello: [email protected]
Kris Mamula: [email protected]
Describe your business in no more than 100 words.
We are a bespoke clothing manufacturer and owner and retailer of our own clothing brands: Stitch Rowing and Saxon. Stitch is one of the leading rowing brands within the UK & Ireland especially within Oxbridge Colleges, Universities and Schools providing bespoke sports specific clothing, training wear and with a new casuals clothing range. The quality of our clothing has led to interest from China and the USA with a steady increase in sales to these markets.
Saxon was set up to be our mass market sports clothing brand we ve experienced success in supplying the likes of The Lords Taverners, Worcester Warriors residential courses,
What prompted you to enter Pitchfest?
Timing, the desire to open up about who we are and what we do and where we want to go.
What are you looking to fund with this investment?
Drive the two brands.
Stitch develop the US and China potential of bespoke kit to Clubs (US market double size of UK market with half the competition, China and Asian Federation are huge growth areas for the sport).
Develop the lifestyle clothing section of the brand in line with our target markets: Oxbridge Colleges, Public Schools, Universities and leverage the existing Stitch brand and customer base.
Key investment marketing, website, social media, advertising
Saxon website, social media and advertising
Fixed Asset purchase scale up machinery in line with demand.
Have you explored any other avenues of funding?
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We are one of very few vertically integrated companies within our niche and the wider sports clothing market place, we can provide shorter lead times, smaller MOQ s react quicker to events and trends.
We manufacture in the UK.
Where do you see your company in five years time?
Stitch – Being the leading rowing clothing supplier within the UK & Ireland and having gained significant market share in the USA and China (+10%).
Establish our lifestyle brand as a clothing brand of choice for our target audience.
Saxon become a leading supplier to Schools and Universities of British manufacture sports clothing
Which customers are you working with at the minute?
Rowing/Boat Clubs; Cambridge University Squads, Oxford/Cambridge Colleges, Universities, Schools, GB Supporters, GB Universities.
Saxon local School, football, cricket and rugby clubs.
What s your proudest entrepreneurial achievement so far?
Developing what we have today as ID Sports
3 Bedroom 2 Bathroom 1 Garage
Superbly modernised three bedroom detached bungalow in a much sought after area of Barming. The current owner has greatly improved the property since purchasing in 2008 (look to full details) Situated on a generous plot with delightful rear garden. Early viewing is highly recommended
Contact ASM1 ACCOMMODATION COMPRISES: UPVC entrance door with obscure partial glazing containing leaded detail with matching side panel, leads to: ENTRANCE HALL: Amtico flooring. Two radiators, undertairs storage cupboard, second storage cupboard. KITCHEN: 13`3 x 12`8 (4.04m x 3.87m) UPVC Double glazed window to conservatory and part glazed UPVC Door. Designer radiator. Range of cream gloss kitchen units with granite work tops and matching up stands. Further ceramic wall tiling. Incorporating stainless steel sunken sink with granite drainer.
Five ring NEFF gas hob with stainless steel extractor hood above. Built in NEFF electric oven and grill. Built in ZANUSSI dishwasher and ZANUSSI washing/drying machine. Space for American style fridge freezer. Ceramic tiled floor and down lighters. LOUNGE: 19`1 x 12` (5.82m x 3.65m) Triple aspect room with three UPVC double glazed windows to rear and side of property. UPVC sliding patio doors to Conservatory. Inset feature electric fire. Two designer radiators.
Coving to ceiling. CONSERVATORY: 9`7 x 9`3 (2.92 x 2.82) UPVC construction with French doors to rear. Radiator. Wall light and ceramic tiled foor. BEDROOM 1: 16` x 10`2 plus wardrobes (4.89m x 3.12m) Double aspect with two UPVC doubled glazed windows to front. Designer radiator. Full length built in wardrobes. Door to: EN SUITE: UPVC obscure double glazed window. Modern white suite with bath with corner mounted mixer taps, washbasin set into vanity unit and close coupled WC.
Corner entry shower cubicle with curved screen. Half height ceramic tiling to walls and ceramic tiling to floor. BEDROOM 2: 11`3 x 8`11 (3.42m x 2.7m) UPVC Double glazed window to rear. Radiator, coving to ceiling. BATHROOM: UPVC obscure double glazed window to side. Towel radiator. White suite comprising corner entry Douglas James shower cubicle with curved screen. Close coupled WC. Wash basin set into vanity unit.
Half ceramic tiling to walls and ceramic tiling to floor. Towel radiator. FIRST FLOOR; BEDROOM THREE/LOFT ROOM: 23 10 max x 11 10 max (7.23m max x 3.61m max) UPVC double glazed dormer window to rear. Five eaves storage cupboards. Laminate flooring. Broadband point. OUTSIDE: Block paved driveway giving parking for up to 5 vehicles. GARAGE: 19 4 x 8 8 (5.9m x 2.64m) Remote controlled electric up and over door. Light and power.
Wall mounted WORCESTER gas fired combination boiler. REAR GARDEN: 70` x 50` (20m x 15m) Yorkstone patio area with steps up to sizeable area of lawn with well manicured mature borders of plants and shrubs with raised vegetable plot to rear. Green house and garden shed. Access to both sides of property. Outside security lights and water tap.
VIEWING: Strictly by arrangement with ASM RESIDENTIAL at our Barming office.