Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Did Republicans Just Sell Our Internet Privacy Off To Their Big Corporate Campaign Donors? Yep!


Yesterday, Republicans in the House voted-- pretty narrowly-- to approve Jeff Flake's Joint Resolution, overturning the protection of privacy rights on the Internet. Flake, an unpopular Arizona Republican, is up for reelection in 2018, as is unpopular Nevada Republican, Dean Heller, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate. The House passed it 215-205, with 15 Republicans crossing the aisle and voting NO with every single Democrat. Earlier in the day, one reactionary Blue Dog, Jim Costa (CA), voted with the Republicans on a piece of enabling legislation for the bill, but by the time of the final vote on the bill itself, Costa backed down and voted against it.

Among the Republicans voting against this nightmare proposal were Walter Jones (R-NC), Justin Amash (R-MI), Johnny Duncan (R-TN) and Mark Sanford (R-SC), among the only Republicans ever willing to buck the corporately paid-off party leadership.

The specific FCC rule the Republicans overturned required Internet Service Providers to ask customers' permission to collect, use and sell personal information. Pelosi's floor speech urging her colleagues to vote NO was pretty compelling, but not for corporate Republicans looking for big bucks from internet service providers. Among the corporations handing out the big corporate bribes in this area are AT&T, Century Link, Charter (Spectrum), Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Optimum, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Windstream. In the last cycle alone, the sector handed out $97,910,784 in political bribes. Ryan, of course, was the biggest recipient of the bribery among current members ($559,221). The half dozen other biggest bribe takers from this sector were:
Greg Walden (R-OR)-$544,429
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $400,300
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)- $344,950
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)- $332,033
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)- $318,437
Darrell Issa (R-CA)- $317,200
Walden, McCarthy, Goodlatte and Issa earned their bribes yesterday by voting for the resolution. Pelosi's floor speech made the point that "Americans turn to the internet for so many things these days-- buying books, filing taxes, learning about why they are feeling sick. The Republicans want this information to be sold without your permission. The websites you visit, the apps you use, your search history, the content of your emails, your health and financial data. Overwhelmingly, the American people do not agree with the Republicans that this information should be sold, and it certainly should not be sold without your permission. Our broadband providers know deeply personal information about us and our families-- where we are, what we want, what we’re looking for, what information we want to know, every site we visit and more. They can even track us-- our broadband providers can even track us when we are surfing in a private browsing mode. Americans’ private browser history should not be up for sale, yet Republicans are bringing S.J. Resolution 34 to the floor to allow internet service providers-- excuse me, Mr. Speaker-- to profit, to profit. This is about profit from America’s most intimate, personal information without our knowledge or our consent. Republicans’ use of the Congressional Review Act will do permanent damage to the FCC to keep America’s personal information safe... With this measure, Republicans would destroy Americans’ right to privacy on the internet. We made that clear, and forbid any effort to keep your personal information safe... So while they’re hiding President Trump’s tax returns, some discreet piece of information that the public has a right to know-- they’re selling your most personal, selling your most personal and sensitive information-- again, your browsing history, your children’s location, everything, to anyone with the money to buy it... Most Americans have no or limited choices for broadband providers and no recourse against these invasions of their privacy, because with this measure, Republicans turn their back on the overwhelming number of Americans who want more control over their internet privacy. Americans can choose who represent them in Congress. Americans are paying close attention.  They want to know who is taking a stand with them in opposing efforts to sell the private-- their private information to the American people. This is staggering. This is almost a surrender. If the Republicans are allowed to do this, we have surrendered all thoughts of privacy for the American people. Privacy is a value that the American people treasure. It’s about their dignity. It’s about their dignity. We cannot allow the Republicans to sell the dignity of the American people. I hope that everyone will vote ‘no’ on this most unfortunate assault on the dignity of the American people."

Ted Cruz is all for ending Internet privacy rights. Beto is running against him next year

Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), who wrote the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 to ensure consumers are notified quickly if their private information has been compromised and who co-introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring current and prospective employees from disclosing their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a job, is strongly opposed to this bill and told her constituents why she voted against it. "Allowing Internet companies to sell personal information flies in the face of the New Hampshire 'live free or die' values we cherish. Congress should be doing more to safeguard our Internet privacy, not making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect their own data."

Geoff Petzel is running for Congress in a Chicagoland district represented by Ryan crony Pete Roskam. And, of course, yesterday Roskam voted to sell our internet privacy rights to his campaign donors. I contacted Geoff-- whose campaign you can contribute to here-- and he told me that "seeing what Republicans and the right wing are doing to dismantle our society has me incredibly angry. I have been attending meeting after meeting where people tell me they are 'pissed' at Congress and Trump. I have no other words-- I am pissed too. The destruction of our freedoms from internet privacy to a woman's right to choose to suppressing the vote and lying about the facts has us on a trajectory that will destroy our democracy. I believe that the United States is the greatest country on earth, but it can only remain that way if we fight for our freedom everyday.  William Douglas said 'The privacy and dignity of our citizens are being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen-- a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a person's life.' I am committed to my campaign because we can't we must stop the destruction of our democracy. Our freedom is at stake and we must fight back. After all, Privacy is Freedom."

UPDATE: Revenge

Erin Corbett:
Repealing the FCC guidelines is a huge blow to online privacy. So Adam McElhaney, an activist based in Chattanooga, Tennessee who cares about privacy and net neutrality set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to buy the internet histories of everyone who voted to repeal the FCC’s privacy protections.

The page is called Purchase Private Internet Histories.

“I think that your private Internet history should be yours,” McElhaney wrote on the page. “I also believe your Internet should be neutral. I am raising money to help secure those freedoms.”

McElhaney explained that because the Senate is gutting online privacy and allowing anyone’s internet histories to be purchased, “I plan on purchasing the Internet histories of all legislators, congressmen, executives, and their families and make them easily searchable at”

“I don’t think that what I lookup on the Internet, what sites I visit, my browsing habits, should be bought and sold to whoever. Without my consent,” McElhany noted, with a call to action. “Let’s turn the tables. Let’s buy THEIR history and make it availble [sic].”“Everything from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity,” McElhaney wrote. “Help me raise money to buy the histories of those who took away your right to privacy for just thousands of dollars from telephone and ISPs.  Your private data will be bought and sold to marketing companies, law enforcement.”

“Join me in the fight to turn the tables and do whatever it takes to take back your privacy.”

The page has so far raised $54,446, after intending only to raise $10,000.

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At 1:49 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

And an activist started a GoFundMe page to turn the tables on them.


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