It didn’t look like much from the outside. Just another vote recorded by the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, with members saying “yea” or “nay.” But some say the outcome of Tuesday’s vote could have serious implications for the privacy of your personal information while you are online.
The purpose of the vote was to repeal a set of privacy rules that the Federal Communications Commission proposed last fall. The rules would have prevented Internet service providers from selling your browser history, location information, and other personal details to advertisers.
Republicans in the House won the vote, just as their counterparts in the Senate won a similar vote last week. A joint resolution by both parts of Congress repealing the rules now only requires the signature of President Trump to become law.
Supporters of the vote say existing laws already protect people’s privacy online. And they argue that the FCC rules would have unfairly restricted Internet providers, making it hard for them to compete against digital advertising behemoths like Google and Facebook. Privacy advocates, however, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Digital Democracy, say removing the FCC rules will create a free-for-all in which ISPs can sell their users’ information to the highest bidder.
Critics of the move also see it as another step in the weakening of Obama-era Internet rules. Many believe this development could lead to the death of the principle of net neutrality, which prevents Internet providers from discriminating against content that is distributed through their networks. And that could change the Internet in even more dramatic ways.
BITS AND BYTES
AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner is looking more and more likely. Remember how critical candidate Donald Trump was about the mammoth telecommunications merger? The President’s pick to lead antitrust matters, Makan Delrahim, isn’t likely to block the union. (Fortune)
Intel keeps remind us that Moore’s Law is alive and well. The chip giant on Tuesday offered more insight into its manufacturing techniques. It insists that the Intel co-founder’s prediction that transistor density can double every two years or less remains in force, even though the rate of introducing smaller-scale chips has slowed. (Fortune)
Amazon is selling the app it uses to run its call center to other companies. Many businesses are turning to cloud-based support capabilities offered by companies like Zendesk. Amazon’s new service may compete with those products, but it will also integrate with them. (Fortune)
Uber actually employs more women as a percentage of its workforce than Facebook or Apple. The ride-sharing upstart, which has faced enormous criticism in recent weeks over how its female employees are treated, on Tuesday published its first report on worker demographics. About 36% are women, compared with the 32% revealed by the other two tech giants in their most recent disclosures. (Fortune, New York Times)
Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE is no longer on the blacklist. The trade restrictions were lifted after the company pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions forbidding shipments of technology into Iran. (Reuters)
If you’re a woman in tech, your career might thrive in Washington, D.C. That finding, part of an annual study by fintech firm Smart Asset, takes into account factors such as the gender pay gap, income after housing costs, tech jobs filled by women, and four-year employment growth. This was the third consecutive year the nation’s capital came out on top, followed by Kansas City, Mo., and Baltimore. (Fortune)
Data-crunching software startup scores big new investment. MapD, founded by a former research assistant to database guru Michael Stonebraker, has raised $25 million in a Series B funding round. (Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Apple’s Artificial Intelligence Guru Talks About a Sci-Fi Future, by Jonathan Vanian
This Is How Business Software Firm Infor Is Training Future Tech Workers, by Polina Marinova
Your Next Company Car Could Be a Tesla, by Kirsten Korosec
The Next Industry for Silicon Valley to Disrupt: Logistics, by Erin Griffith
Why Flying a Drone Could Get You Thrown in Jail, by Jonathan Vanian