Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Netiquette IQ Blog Of 3/28/17 - A Major Blow For Intermet Privacy

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Congress just killed your Internet privacy protections
by Seth Fiegerman   @sfiegerman March 28, 2017: 6:06 PM ET
The future of online privacy is now in President Trump's hands.
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to repeal Internet privacy protections that were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the final days of the Obama administration. 

The Senate voted along party lines to undo the rules last week. The resolution now goes to Trump's desk. The White House said Tuesday it "strongly supports" the repeal. 



Providers would also have been required to notify customers about the types of information collected and shared.

The privacy rules were intended to give consumers extra control over their personal data online at a time when everything from smartphones to refrigerators can be connected to the Internet. 

Opponents of the privacy rules argued it would place an undue burden on broadband providers while leaving large Internet companies like Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) free to collect user data without asking permission. 

Representative Michael Burgess, a Republican, described the rules as "duplicative regulation" on the House floor and said the repeal would "level the playing field for an increasingly anti-competitive market." 

But rather than apply similar protections to more businesses, the Republican-controlled Congress voted to scrap the rules entirely. 

Democrats and privacy advocates have argued this approach effectively hands over the customer's personal information to the highest bidder. 

"It totally wipes out privacy protections for consumers on the Internet," Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo said on the floor. "I don't want anyone to take my information and sell it to someone and make a ton of money off of it just because they can get their mitts on it." 

Michael Capuano, a Democratic Representative, took it one step further. "Just last week, I bought underwear on the internet," he said. "Why should you know what size I take, or the color, or any of that information?

Many broadband providers already share some of their customers' browsing behavior with advertisers. Providers typically offer the choice to opt out, but consumers may not even be aware of this data collection -- let alone how to get out of it. 

With Facebook and Google, weary users may choose to limit their activity on the sites or switch to rival services. But switching providers is often difficult, as is hiding your Internet activity from your Internet provider. 

"Most people can't simply walk away from their Internet service provider," says Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the ACLU. "They need the Internet and they may not have another option." 

A virtual private network, or VPN, is one option to protect your online activity. One service, NordVPN, says it has seen a "sharp increase" in consumer interest in the days since the Senate vote.

The repeal is a big win for large providers like AT&T (T, Tech30) and Verizon (VZ, Tech30). They have bet billions on content, including AT&T's pending acquisition of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. 

This content can potentially be paired with subscriber data to build up lucrative targeted advertising businesses that compete with Google and Facebook.
"I don't think of it as game over," says Guliani, who predicts Republicans will face pushback from their constituents for the privacy vote. "I think of it as a setback." 

CNNMoney (New York) First published March 28, 2017: 6:06 PM ET
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In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

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In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via paper.li.I have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.


Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services.  Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology market.