It's unclear if Donald Trump's appointment to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is serving the people or internet service providers — in his short time in power, he has taken subsidized internet away from low-income families, worked toward ending net neutrality and now wants to make it really easy for your data to be sold without your consent.
Pai just blocked rules set out in October that aim to make it more difficult for internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to give your data to advertisers — the rules require that customers have to opt-in in order for the ISPs to access their data and personal information.
The rules Pai blocked also note that ISPs are required to let customers know if there has been a security breach. Pai's attempt to block these regulations not only make your data up for grabs to advertisers without your knowledge, they keep you in the dark in the event that your data is susceptible to hackers.
In April 2015, 280,000 AT&T customer names and full or partial Social Security numbers were exposed. After a data breach in March 2016 at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, 1.5 million customer records were put up for sale online. Comcast had to reset hundreds of thousands of passwords in November 2015 after it was discovered that customer information was being sold on the dark web. It's important in the event of these massive security breaches that customers are made aware so that they can quickly change any passwords on other accounts that are identical to the one now available to hackers.
"Unfortunately, one of the previous administration's privacy rules that is scheduled to take effect on March 2 is not consistent with the FTC's privacy standards," an FCC statement read, justifying Pai's opposition to the aforementioned rules.
It's hard to think of one good reason for keeping this information from customers aside from helping providers avoid bad press.