How the Government Safeguards our Online Privacy

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how the government safeguards our online privacy

Online privacy is becoming a huge issue and one that has many faucets to it. Some believe that the government is too strict when it comes to online privacy, so as monitoring everyone’s every move online and the like. There are also others who believe that the government is not doing enough.

It can be hard for a government body to please both sides of the spectrum. The latest in the world of online privacy within the United States comes after the federal government announces that there are new rules to be put into place that are meant to protect those who are surfing online.

Many are already against these rules as they feel that this cuts in on the internet that’s meant to be easy and free to use.

online privacy government

The New Rules with Online Privacy

The new rules that people are hearing about are some of the strictest rules that the United States has ever seen. The good news is that the bulk majority of these regulations are being placed on Internet service providers, which is already upsetting many of these providers. These rules are coming now that the heated legal battle with Apple is taking the center stage in most news industries.

Apple is refusing to crackdown on encryption for those who utilize their phones. The government argues that the company has a legal right to do this as they are finding that this could relate to terrorism investigations.

However, Apple is holding firm on this refusal. As of right now, it doesn’t look that there’s an end in sight as both parties are holding firm to what they want. Interestingly, according to a poll by Pew Research Center, over half of those polled believe that the tech giant should be unlocking phones if there is a reason to believe there’s terroristic threatening involved. The poll results can be seen below:

a graph showing the percentages of people who say apple should unlock iPhone

So what are these new rules? Are they going to be rules that the public is going to get behind? According to the FCC Chairman Wheeler, they’re being put into place in order to protect consumers from their Internet service providers.

When a person signs up for Internet at their home or business, there are numerous pieces of personal information that are being given to this company in order to start this service.

Most internet providers need social security numbers, birthdates, mailing address, phone number and the like in order to get your started. This is information that can easily be used by people to steal identities. In addition, this information if sold to someone else, is a huge violation of your privacy.

ISPs can also monitor your browsing history.

What Chairman Wheeler is proposing is that all this data is yours alone, thus the internet service provider has no right to sell or use it in any way that is not related to your internet service.

Proposed Rules for ISP

Those who provide internet to customers are allowed to use the consumer’s data with third parties when the consumer specifically opts for this. Thus, consumers also have the option to opt out of this sharing of their personal information. This is a huge win for consumers of these providers. The Proposal Requirements for ISPs.

In addition to this, the requirements are also going to emphasize the need for ISPs to take more safeguards to ensure that information they collect is safe. Among the number of ways in which the government will require that the ISP do this includes:

  • Have risk management practices in place
  • Personnel training practices that are aimed at protecting consumer’s information
  • Stronger authentication practices to verify consumers
  • There must be a senior manager who is responsible for the security of data
  • All ISPs will have to take responsibility for their actions if the consumers’ information is leaked to third parties

In the event that an ISP does leak the information to a third party, or if they were to give this information freely to a third party, then there will also be requirements for how the ISP will need to handle these cases. In the event that this happens:

  • Those who are affected by a breach must be told no later than 10 days after the discovery
  • The commission of any party must be notified no later than 7 days after the breach discovery
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the US Secret Service must be notified of this breach no later than 7 days after discovering this

The Thoughts of Those Affected

So what are Internet service providers thinking of these new rules? It’ll require more work on their behalf. AT&T, a major communications provider in the United States is against these regulations. The vice president of AT&T, Bob Quin, wrote in a blog post that opposes these new rules:

“GIVEN THE REALITY OF THIS COMPLEX MARKET, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR TREATING ISP DATA AS SOMEHOW ‘PROPRIETARY’ OR SUBJECTING ISPS TO UNIQUE PRIVACY REQUIREMENTS.”

Needless to say, many ISPs are wondering what is next.

These aren’t the newest rules that the FCC has proposed. However, the last set of rules resulted in the public stating their firm opinion against the rules that they come forth with. In reply to these comments, the FCC adopted a new set of rules, the ones that you are reading about now.

The open commission meeting is where the rules are going to be released for public opinion. So they’re not set in stone yet. The public needs to act now to ensure that they are still considered free when online. Don’t stand by and let this simply happen, as it could mean the change of the internet forever.