First off, there’s a lot of misinformation out there (some of which is being spread by Republican Congresscrooks who voted earlier this week to screw us all over by killing any hope of internet privacy protections), so here’s a concise, helpful summary by the New York Times regarding what Republicans voted for the other day. The key point is that, unlike what those Republican Congresscrooks will tell you, their vote was actually a “big deal,” as it nixed “new F.C.C. rules [that] would have given consumers stronger privacy protections — without such restrictions, internet providers may decide to become more aggressive with data collection and retention.” Great, huh? Nope.
Also see Congress Intends to Sell Off Your Internet Privacy. Why?, which writes (bolding added by me for emphasis):
Particularly galling to privacy advocates is the fact that this will not only open up users’ private information to be collected and sold to whomsoever a disreputable rogue shows up with a sufficient downpayment on Nana’s prescription history, but that by passing this using the Congressional Review Act, it will prevent the FCC from instituting a substantially similar rule in the future. It’s unclear exactly who, if anyone, actually stands to benefit besides the companies themselves. Which is another way of saying, it’s an idea widely supported by Republican lawmakers.
…“This is a disaster on basically every front,” says Kade Crockford, director of the technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “If you’re not a major ISP or a Republican member of Congress, you don’t want this to happen. There are a very limited number of people in the country who think this is a good idea, and probably not a lot of Republican voters either.”
…Under the Obama-era rule, ISPs would be required to notify users about the type of information gathered, and get permission before selling it to third parties. They would also be held significantly more accountable for any data breaches…
The dismantling of the rule puts all of that in jeopardy, meaning sensitive personal information about your health, your purchases, your political opinions—almost your entire history of thoughts and actions—can and will be sold to third parties.
…”The possibilities are endless and chilling,” Crockford says…
So, “endless and chilling,” your personal information “sold to third parties,” etc, etc. THAT is what House Republicans – including Virginia’s self-proclaimed defenders of “liberty” Barbara Comstock, Scott Taylor, Dave Brat, Morgan Griffith, Bob BADlatte, Tom Garrett and Rob Witt(less)man. Great job, huh? OK, well maybe not, particularly if you read the comments on these folks Facebook pages from outraged constituents. Here are some top-rated comments aimed at these liars, corporate hacks and hypocrites. Let’s not forget this next November when we (hopefully) vote all these people out of office.
Top two comments on Barbara Comstock’s FB page:
- “I’m sorry – as a constituent that works in the IT world, for one of the countries largest providers – I can not understand why you would vote on any bill that purely benefits industry at the peril of our individual privacies. This vote does not represent your constituents. I will be fighting hard to ensure we elect officials that represent the protections of consumers. This is hugely disappointing. So far, every vote I’ve seen you make has not represented ideals I hold very dear. I look forward to the next election cycle.”
- “Oh please. You sold out your constituents privacy because you received over $100k from ISPs and related corporations. We aren’t idiots.”
Top comment on Scott Taylor’s FB page:
- “Scott a little disappointed that you would post a Forbes opinion piece and try to pass it off as fact. If what you belive to be true. Please post the parts of the actual resolution that will show me my privacy is not being encroached upon. I do not trust others opinions today. I want facts.”
Top comments on Dave Brat’s FB page:
- “It’s ‘overly restrictive’ to require my ISP to inform me of an opt-out provision and to not sell my data to third parties without my consent? Google and FB use internal algorithms to “customize” ads – that’s hardly the same thing as selling my browsing history itself for a profit. Besides, ISPs already have a monopoly in many areas. I have options with browsers/search engines and social media – I don’t with my home internet. They are not in competition with Google & FB. That’s like saying my power company is in competition with the store where I bought the lamp plugged into my wall – one provides a service, the other the content on that service.”
- “Thank you for explaining your position, but I do not believe that allowing more people to invade our privacy is the solution to this problem. Perhaps propose legislation to keep other companies from doing the same instead of trying to promote an equal unfairness toward consumers from all parties. We do not want to be taken advantage of.”
- “As an IT security professional, let me say that your grasp of this is just as sound as your grasp of healthcare reform. But then again, I didn’t go to seminary….”
- “Horrible vote. Your aid tried to explain your position I left him with my thoughts: that I understood how he was trying to justify it but that this clearly was the result of $$$ and an effective lobby by Verizon et al as it does NOTHING for his constituents.”
- “You can spin this all the way to the moon and back – the end result is that my privacy isn’t important to you or to your colleagues. The $$$ your receive for your vote is your bottom line – as always.”
- “Thanks so much for allowing both of the 2 ISP choices in my area to sell MY browsing data for THEIR gain. I’ve been wondering how I could help them along with their profits, and giving up my privacy is just icing on the cake.”