Republicans in Congress handed the telecom industry a big win last week when they voted to strip away Obama-era FCC regulations protecting consumers’ privacy. There’s just one little detail that people alarmed by this vote might have missed: Those regulations hadn’t gone into effect yet.
“While they were passed under a Democratic administration, the lion’s share of them, this notion where they had to ask your permission to take your information and sell it to third-party advertisers, that wasn’t going to go into effect until the end of this year,” Recode Senior Editor for Policy and Politics Tony Romm said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask.
“On the one hand, nothing has changed,” he added. “On the other hand, everything has changed. Those companies can now start to do different things with your data without asking your permission beforehand.”
On the new podcast, Romm also talked with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode about the broader outlook for privacy and net neutrality under President Trump and new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a noted opponent of net neutrality. Romm said that most consumers don’t fully comprehend what data tech companies have collected on them in the first place.
“There’s a great lack of information on the part of consumers about what companies are doing, how much information they’re collecting and ultimately what they’re doing with it,” Romm said. “Most folks don’t know what Google collects about them. Most folks don’t know how online advertising works. Most folks don’t know why they see the things that they do in their News Feed, and they’re not asking those questions about smart home stuff, or self-driving cars.”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.