Google and Facebook lobbyists try to stop new online privacy protections

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Lobbyists for Google, Facebook, and other websites are trying to stop the implementation of a proposed law in the US that would strengthen consumer privacy protections online.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) last week proposed a bill that would require broadband providers and websites to obtain users’ opt-in consent before they use Web browsing history and application usage history for advertising and other purposes or before they share that information with other entities. The rule in Blackburn’s “BROWSER Act” would be similar to one that was scheduled to be applied to ISPs later this year until Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump took action to stop it from being implemented.

The online advertising industry uses self-regulatory mechanisms in which websites let visitors opt out of personalized advertising based on browsing history, and websites can be punished by the Federal Trade Commission if they break their privacy promises. Websites don’t need to obtain opt-in consent before using browsing history to deliver targeted ads. ISPs face no opt-in or opt-out rules at the moment, but Blackburn’s bill would apply the stricter opt-in standard to both websites and broadband providers.

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