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Congress votes to kill landmark broadband privacy regulations

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The House voted Tuesday to kill landmark privacy restrictions for Internet service providers and sent the bill to the White House, indicating it will receive a signature rom President Trump, effectively invalidating the rules before they go into effect.

The measure, approved largely along party lines, repeals tough new Federal Communications Commission regulations that would require broadband companies to obtain explicit customer permission before using or sharing most of their personal information. That data includes health information, website browsing history, app usage and the geographic information from mobile devices.

The rules also tighten data security requirements.

Republicans, along with support from AT&T, Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and other providers of high-speed Internet, strongly opposed the new rules and regulations. They argued that the restrictions are stricter than those for websites and social networks that also collect and use the highly valuable consumer data, which companies use to target advertising.

“These broadband privacy rules are unnecessary and are just another example of big government overreach,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who sponsored the repeal bill.

“The FCC’s flawed broadband privacy rules will have a chilling effect on internet innovation and competition,” said Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association.

However, supporters of the new changes, including Democrats, consumer groups and privacy advocates, fear that Internet service providers are putting together dossiers on their customers without their consent.

Broadband companies serve as the gatekeepers of Internet access, the data collected by these companies should be held to a different standard, supporters opined.

“Broadband providers are in the unique position of seeing everything we do on the Internet,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat from Menlo Park, Calif.

“Consumers don’t pay to use search engines or social media applications…. If they don’t like Google’s privacy policy they can switch over to Bing without paying any fees,” she said. “But consumers can’t do that with Internet service providers.”

Because of Trump’s election, along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, it was possible for conservatives to use a rare procedure to repeal regulations enacted by a federal agency. By a vote of 215-205, House approval came after the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly voted last week for the repeal measure.

The White House said Tuesday that President Trump “strongly supports” the repeal. The president’s advisors would recommend he sign the bill, the White House said in a statement.

Michael Copps, former chairman of the FCC, called the vote a clear example of big businesses influence in professional politics.

“Big cable and big telecom have struck again,” said Copps. “If this bill is signed by the president, broadband providers will have free rein to sell user data to the highest bidder – without ever informing consumers….What a perversion of what the internet was supposed to be.”

Fifteen Republicans broke ranks with House leadership and voted against the resolution, including Justin Amash and Kevin Yoder, who often speaks out on privacy issues. No Democrat voted for the measure.

After Republicans took over the FCC’s majority with Trump’s inauguration, the agency voted 2 to 1 along party lines this month to halt the first of the new privacy regulations that were scheduled to go into effect the next day. That provision dealt with new data security requirements.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted against the rules in October, said the delay would give the agency time to consider formal requests from trade groups representing Internet service providers to reconsider the regulations.

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Trump Speaks to Modi, Aims to Reduce Kashmir Tensions

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Modi Kashmir Tensions Trump

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Modi by phone to get India’s perspective on Kashmir. Modi told Trump the anti-India rhetoric from Pakistani leaders was not conducive to peace. Later, President Trump in a tweet called Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan “good friends,” of his and that he’s working “towards reducing tensions in Kashmir.”

Kabul, Afghanistan was the site of a horrific suicide bombing that took place at a wedding, killing 63 people. The bride and groom survived. Afghan officials blame the attack on the United States and their prolonged presence in the region.

A 35-year-old man from India on a hunger strike at a Texas ICE facility was force fed, according to his attorney, becoming the latest detainee seeking asylum in the U.S. fed in such a manner. The man stopped eating tko protest his confinement. ICE says they will do what it takes to “preserving the lives of those in its custody.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Protests staged to counter Indian Independence Day

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Protests staged to counter Indian Independence Day

LONDON (Diya TV) — As the diaspora celebrated India’s 73th Independence Day, counter protests were staged as well. In London, things got violent as protesters carrying Khalistani and Kashmiri flags tried to make their presence felt amidst the pro-India crowd. Injuries have been reported, caused by hooligans throwing things into the gathering, forcing the cancellation of the cultural performance.

The scene was raucous in Houston as well, where supporters of Khalistan stood outside of the consulate. A few dozen protesters were on hand at the San Francisco consulate as well, but they were drowned out by pro-Indian chants.

Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna announced he has joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus to promote peace in the region. The Indian American politician in his second term in the House is also a member of U.S.-India Caucus. In a statement, Khanna said he’s supported legislation condemning the terrorist bombing in Kashmir and wants to promote a stronger defense tie up between the U.S. and India, adding he wants to engage all the regional players, so the U.S. can withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

And the UN Security Council held a closed door meeting on Kashmir. Pakistan is lobbying for a formal session to present its case. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called the U.S. and other members of the council in advance of the meeting held at the insistence of China.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian Independence day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

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Indian Independence Day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Indians around the world are marking the 72nd anniversary of India’s freedom from British rule with a series of ceremonies, the largest of which took place in New Delhi at a celebration featuring Indian Prime Minister Modi. Over the course of 90 minutes, Mr. Modi spoke about his government’s accomplishments during his term and the pressing matter that is of interest globally, Kashmir. Watch his full remarks in primetime tonight on Diya TV. Coverage begins at 6 pm.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made their controversial public charge rule official. It will deny green cards to immigrants who have received federal aid and benefits, impacting one million immigrants annually who have received public aid. Aging parents are also likely to be disqualified.

And the Philadelphia community is in mourning over the loss of three members of the Khurana family, who died when their small aircraft crashed shortly after take-off on a flight heading for Columbus, Ohio. The victims, 60 year old Jasvir Khurana and his wife, 54 year old Divya, were respected physician-researchers teaching at Temple and Drexel respectively. Their 19 year old daughter, Kiran, graduated from high school last year. The Khuranas were on their way to visit their other daughter in California. The FAA and NTSB ruled the crash was an accident.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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