Americans Uneasy About Data Privacy After FCC Rule Repeal, Survey Says

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A vast majority of Americans—95 percent—say they are concerned about businesses’ collection and sale of their personal information without permission, according to a survey taken after the recent rollback of federal privacy rules for broadband providers.

The Federal Communications Commission privacy rules had required providers such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to get affirmative consent from subscribers before collecting or selling their data.  Since President Donald Trump signed a bill into law rescinding those rules, the public debate over internet privacy has escalated.

The survey, published May 4 by software company Anchorfree, asked 2,000 consumers their views on internet access and privacy.

Although 90 percent of Americans say internet access must be safe and secure, they are divided as to who should be responsible for ensuring such security. Two out of five Americans say the federal government is responsible, while another two out of five point to network providers, the survey said.

According to the survey, more than 50 percent of Americans are looking for new ways to protect their online data and privacy.  Many are already, among other things, only buying online from well-known company websites and avoiding public Wi-Fi.

The United Nations last July declared internet access a human right, but according to the survey, only one out of three Americans agrees.