Your Browsing is Your Business, Not Theirs

The Forrest Four-Cast: March 27, 2016

The timeframe hasn’t yet expired to voice your opinion about Internet Service Providers selling your personal Internet browsing history. Contact your lawmaker (or connect with Color of Change, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Free Press) before Tuesday’s vote if you want your surfing preferences to remain relatively private.

This proposed legislation is a scary omen for how much the business-friendly FCC approach under the Trump administration will differ from what we saw during the Obama years when this agency was led by Tom Wheeler. As Gigi Sohn (who served as a counselor for Wheeler) wrote in a column on The Verge about last week’s repeal of the FCC’s 2016 broadband privacy:

ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, and Charter will be free to sell your personal information to the highest bidder without your permission — and no one will be able to protect you. The Federal Trade Commission has no legal authority to oversee ISP practices, and the bill under consideration ensures that the FCC cannot adopt “substantially similar” rules. So unless the bill fails in the House, the nation’s strongest privacy protections will not only be eliminated, they cannot be revived by the FCC.

Perhaps other Wheeler-era Internet policies will take longer to dismantle than this particular one. But allowing ISPs to buy and sell your personal data like any other open market commodity sets a damaging precedent for so many other potential changes to follow. Get involved now with this important privacy issue before it is too late.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.