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Republicans Repeal Internet Privacy Rule

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Fifteen Republicans joining 190 Democrats could not stop the House late Tuesday afternoon from voting to rip up broadband privacy rules passed late in the Obama administration.

The legislation now heads to the White House. President Trump is expected to sign it.

Voting 215-205, the House repealed the measure that would have prevented Internet Service Providers from marketing customers' web browsing history and other personal information.

"Members of Congress are essentially selling out our basic right to privacy," said Evan Greer, campaign director the non-profit Fight for the Future. "This is going to affect every single person who uses the Internet, whether it's on your phone or your computer."

She says the loss of protections will help fill the pockets of companies like Verizon and Comcast. They won't need an OK from you to put details about what websites you visit, apps you use, and your financial and health information up for advertisers' bids.

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Democrats in majority on the Federal Communications Commission late last year issued the regulation to align with their reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier. Previously, such privacy authority was held by the Federal Trade Commission.

"There's not going to be a discernable difference for consumers," says Evan Swarztrauber with the libertarian think tank Tech Freedom.

He argues the added regulations were confusing and gave companies like Google and Facebook, which show ads to customers in exchange for 'free' services, an unfair advantage over Internet providers.

"This maintains a level playing field and allows for competition in a very robust ad market," Swarztrauber says. "And consumers do reap the benefits from innovation."

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