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California shelves law barring internet providers from sharing data

Jon Fingas

If you were hoping a state legislature would effectively override the federal bill rolling back internet privacy rules, you'll have to keep waiting. California's legislature has ended its session without voting on a bill that would have prevented internet providers from collecting and selling data without permission, or charging you extra unless you gave up that data. The bill isn't dead (it was only introduced late in the legislative session), but it's shelved until 2018 at the earliest -- you'll have to hope your ISP prefers opt-in data sharing until at least then.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims that the legislature "kowtowed" to lobbyists from telecoms, advertisers and other companies that stand to benefit from ISPs selling your data without explicit consent. They waged a public campaign against the bill claiming that there would be security risks if they couldn't share data on their own terms. Whether that's true or not, it's clear that those companies got what they wanted, and that people across the country will have to live with the looser federal regulation unless California or another state passes a bill restoring tougher safeguards.