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Congress votes to allow internet service providers to sell browsing data

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Congress cast a controversial vote Tuesday on online privacy and critics say it's the first step toward allowing internet providers to sell browsing habits to others. (KGO-TV)

Congress cast a controversial vote Tuesday on online privacy and critics say it's the first step toward allowing internet providers to sell browsing habits to others.

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One civil liberties group is calling the measure, "creepy tracking at its worst," but the Republican controlled House and Senate voted in favor of it.

President Donald Trump is expected to support and sign off on the measure, which would allow internet providers to sell information like sites you visit, products you buy, and places you like to the highest bidder.

Imagine someone getting their hands on all of the sites you've visited in the past week and then using that information to push ads, stories, or specific restaurants your way.

"It seems very sketchy, very shady and I'm not a proponent at all," said Virginia resident Kathleen Burden.

Americans may not have a choice if Trump signs off on a bill that would allow internet service providers to sell consumer data.

"I'm worried about how our devices will become more vulnerable," said Jeremy Gillula of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "If your internet provider decides to, you know, pre-install spyware on your phone, so they can better target ads at you. It's pretty scary stuff."

But bill advocates insist it's not about hacking or privacy infringements. The measure could help create competition, boost consumerism, and help the economy.

"We may be exposed to offerings in areas that we choose for purchasing that we may not be aware of. We can buy and compare and better shop online," said Leo Lacayo of the San Francisco Hispanic Republican Assembly.

"I think we're all pretty internet savvy now and we can find out what we want without the companies selling our information and having ads sort of focused on it," said San Francisco resident Cheryl Brinkman.

Most internet users don't support the measure and worry about their privacy.

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