Senate Republicans Vote To Gut Internet Privacy
Hamza Shaban, writing for BuzzFeed:
The Senate voted Thursday to make it easier for internet service providers to share sensitive information about their customers, a first step in overturning landmark privacy rules that consumer advocates and Democratic lawmakers view as crucial protections in the digital age. The vote was passed along party lines, 50-48, with all but two Republicans voting in favor of the repeal and every Democrat voting against it. Two Republican Senators did not vote.
Disgusting. This is what buying policy looks like, folks. Kate Tummarello of the Electronic Frontier Foundation also did a write-up, and included a particularly scary piece of information:
Republicans in the Senate just voted 50-48 (with two absent votes) to approve a Congressional Review Action resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake which—if it makes it through the House—would not only roll back the FCC’s rules but also prevent the FCC from writing similar rules in the future.
This may not seem like a big deal, but it very much is, especially in an age where ISPs and the data brokers to whom they sell your information are frequently hacked.
More shameful behavior from Senate Republicans whose retirement can’t possibly come soon enough.
Actually, it’s not our data at all
It may illustrate your shopping habits and your life events, but the data about what you do online and with customer loyalty cards effectively belongs to the companies that sell it. And it makes them a lot of money.
Don’t forget that.
Federal Trade Commission to data brokers: Show us your data
Jessica Guynn of the LA Times:
The FTC wants to know what the brokers do with the information. It also wants to know if the data brokers let consumers review and correct their personal information or opt out from having their personal information sold.
I can guess that they sell it as “background check” data to both reputable and shady services of that kind, and almost certainly none of them allow correction or opt-out.
It’s one thing to consent to tracking efforts by Amazon, Google, and Facebook, whose labyrinthine Terms of Service are at least publicly-available. It’s another thing to be tracked without consent, without even agreeing to a TOS we didn’t really read, by companies who profit by selling that information to still other companies.
We need legislation on this, as in most other areas of consumer privacy, and especially on the internet, mandating opt-in only participation in data collection like this.