So much for privacy ….

GOP Senate kisses corporate ass ...

March 26, 2017 Update

Here’s an interesting update to the stories linked to below. It suggests that “some state legislatures may prove to be a counterweight to Washington by enacting new regulations to increase consumers’ privacy rights.”

Something is better than nothing, of course, so let’s hope that’s right. But we would be a lot better off if the people we elected to represent us, especially Republicans, actually were interested in protecting their fellow cirizens, not the corporate fatcats who contribute to their reelection campaigns.

But that’s probably asking too much. Most of these people who run for office are hopeless.

Originally Posted on March 24, 2017

“Senate lawmakers voted Thursday to repeal a historic set of rules aimed at protecting consumers’ online data from their own Internet providers, in a move that could make it easier for broadband companies to sell and share their customers’ usage information for advertising purposes.

“The rules, which prohibit providers from abusing the data they gather on their customers as they browse the Web on cellphones and computers, were approved last year over objections from Republicans who argued the regulations went too far.”

You can read more here and here. The vote was 50 to 48, with only Republicans supporting the rollback and only Democrats opposing it.

If the resolution passes the House and is signed by Trump, internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T would be able to sell customer user data to third parties or use the information to sell advertising without seeking express permission from their customers.

And here you were foolish enough to believe your Senators were actually working for you.

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2 thoughts on “So much for privacy ….

  1. Kit, as I understand it, Google and maybe others already had that right. It doesn’t make it any better that the right was given to others it just levels the playing field for ISPs. In my opinion, the right to sell this info should have been stripped from Google and the others, not spread around. It’s nobody’s business that I like your website or any others.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Axel; and, yeah, I’ve heard that argument before and don’t think much of it. It’s true that Google, Amazon, Facebook, and many others are heavily into the business of tracking those who use their services; and I agree there should be regulations or, better still, legislation that prevent them from doing that.

      But this is a case where letting the best be the enemy of the good makes no sense at all. Many people, myself included, do our best to avoid using Google, Amazon, and other trackers. I use Startpage as my search engine, for example. It doesn’t store my IP address, use tracking cookies, or make a record of my searches. It doesn’t keep any information about me or what I search for. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

      I use planetmail.net (mail.com) as a convenience for my readers and because I started with that, but ProtonMail for my personal use. I thought about switching users over to ProtonMail, but decided that might call unfair attention to them from the NSA and other spy agencies that don’t like email services that respect your privacy.

      I don’t have an account with YouTube and don’t use other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to promote my site (although it would be beneficial for me to do so). I’m not saying I am completely anonymized, but I’ve been able to do some things to protect myself against Google and other trackers.

      But to use the internet at all – and frankly I’m thinking of taking my sites down completely now that the GOP has done this – I need an ISP. And letting an ISP track me takes things to an entirely different and much more intrusive level. I can’t avoid my ISP. I can only minimize the damage by using something like Tor or a virtual private network (VPN). The level of potential tracking is just much greater.

      I don’t agree with the premise that Google and others have a right to track me and neither should you. I know a lot of these services believe they have that right, but I also know the Constitution of the United States recognizes a right to privacy. What’s in dispute is how far that right extends.

      If the Republicans cared about your right to privacy they would have taken the existing regulations that were to go into effect, strengthened them by applying them to others like Google and Facebook, and sent legislation like that to Trump.

      But they didn’t because they don’t care about the privacy of ordinary people like you and me.

      They took something good but imperfect and trashed it. Do you really think it’s about fairness or because they respect your privacy? In the House, the repeal effort was led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), a woman who has raked in at least $693,000 in campaign contributions from corporations with internet connections.

      A public servant my ass ...

      What the Republicans are doing is sending a message to large corporations that they don’t give a damn about your privacy and that those corporations should feel free to rape you. It’s what the Republican Party is all about.

      The only votes in the Senate for repealing these privacy regulations were Republican, including so-called moderates like Susan Collins of Maine. You can see how your Senator voted here. In the House, only 15 Republicans opposed repeal (215 favored it). You can find out how your congressman voted here.

      But, hey, I could be wrong. Unlike heath care, this isn’t rocket science. The Republicans could pass a bill putting the same protections in place for other known trackers like Google and others that it’s not at all clear the FCC has the power to regulate (unlike broadband providers).

      And they could do it within a week if they wanted. Hell, I could draft the legislation to do that.

      But I’m not holding my breath and neither should you.

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