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Republicans Vote To Roll Back Internet Privacy Protections

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In October of last year, the Federal Communications Commission barred internet service providers from selling the browsing histories of their customers without consent. Thursday, Republicans in the Senate voted to strike down that regulation along with one that mandates that ISPs report data breaches that may have put their customers at risk.

After being signed into law, the personal data of American citizens will be more vulnerable to hackers and can be sold to third parties. “Passing my resolution is the first step toward restoring a consumer-friendly approach to internet privacy regulation that empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared,” Republican Senator Jeff Flake said. The resolution will now go to the House of Representatives where it’s believed it will pass before being signed by the president.

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“With today’s vote, Senate Republicans have just made it easier for American’s sensitive information about their health, finances, and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission,” Democratic Senator Edward J. Markey said in a statement. “The American public wants us to strengthen privacy protections, not weaken them. We should not have to forgo our fundamental right to privacy just because our homes and phones are connected to the internet.”

If you’re looking to shield your browsing history from your ISP and anyone they’re looking to sell it to, you can browse anonymously by using a Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a security feature that connects you to the internet through a server that keeps all of your data from your desktop, phone, or tablet completely private. VPNs usually cost $5 to $10 a month.

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