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After federal government loosens internet privacy guidelines, MI may pass protections

MGN Online

LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) -- It's no secret some private companies sell your internet searches for profit.

Some people are concerned your privacy may be violated now more than ever before.

Like many first year college students, Yipg Wei is plugged in to social media.

One day she was alarmed after searching Amazon for cosmetics.

Although she didn't buy anything, the product she searched for was immediately advertised on her Instagram feed.

"... and actually the ad that popped up is exactly the ad I searched for," she explained.

"Down to the brand?" asked Minock.

"Yea," she answered.

Do you think that's a violation of privacy?" asked Minock.

"Yea. That's what I feel like," responded Wei.

Google and other search engines are known for saving your search history and tracking what you click online.

Wei fears that information gets sold to third parties, which it reportedly does.

Now internet providers can get in on the game thanks to the Obama era FCC guidelines President Donald Trump rolled back earlier this month.

"There have been people calling me saying what's going on at the Federal Government," said Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge. "Why is it they are allowing these companies to start tracking us so they can sell us stuff?"

State Sen. Jones is going to introduce two bills to stop internet service providers from selling your information without your permission.

"I think we need a legal protection where nobody has the right to track you on your computer unless you give them written permission," said Jones.

Jones' bills will mimic legislation that Minnesota lawmakers introduced right after the federal government loosened internet privacy guidelines.

"I was very concerned about it," said Sen. Ron Latz of Minnesota. "When they moved to remove those privacy protections, we thought it would be valuable to implement them here at a statewide basis."

Sen. Latz says when you are going through your ISP, "you are talking about basic access to the internet, so that's all the information that you are communicating on the internet, not what you are doing on a particular website."

Some internet providers argue that if private companies like Facebook and Google can use your search history, they should be able to as well.

Concerned for her privacy, Wei doesn't mince her words on how she feels about the argument from internet providers.

"It's so stupid. I don't like it," said Wei.


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