On Tuesday, the House revoked Obama era Internet Privacy Rules before they were put into effect. The party-line vote allows internet service providers (ISPs), such as AT&T and Comcast, to collect and share users data without permission. Critics of the removal of the protection are concerned it may lead to the creation of a premium for those who want to protect their privacy. Supporters of removing the law argue that companies such as Facebook and Google are currently able to collect data without explicit permission. Some supporters also believed that consumer protections should be under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission rather than the Federal Communications Commission. Currently, the FTC is unable to enforce regulations on ISPs without additional authority from Congress.
The revocation has prompted a renewed interest in virtual private networks or VPNs. VPNs route all of a user’s data and browsing through a single source, hampering the ability of ISPs to track usage. (VPN pros and cons are discussed in the Fortune and Reuters articles.)