Republicans want your ISP to sell your personal data … all of it. (More)

“Congress today voted to sell off your privacy and your security online”

Yesterday House Republicans joined their Senate colleagues in repealing Obama-era protections for online privacy:

Despite widespread popular outcry, House Republicans on Tuesday voted to strip citizens’ of their right to privacy online, selling out the American public to the deep-pocketed telecom industry.

With 215 voting for and 205 against, 15 GOP representatives joined the Democrats in opposing the S.J. Res. 34, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) privacy provision. Six Republicans and three Democrats abstained.

Open internet and privacy advocates immediately condemned the resolution, now poised to become law pending a likely signature President Donald Trump.

Laying out the implications of the vote, Nathan White, senior legislative manager at Access Now, declared, “Congress today voted to sell off your privacy and your security online.”

“Your internet service provider can see almost everything you do online – from many of the websites you visit, to apps you use, and even some of your private communications,” he continued. “[Internet Service Providers] (ISPs) want to sell off that treasure trove to increase corporate profits, and apparently Congress is fine with that.”

Republicans said it was about creating a ‘level playing field’ for ISPs and search engines like Google:

Republicans bought into internet providers’ arguments that the rules discriminated against them and could confuse consumers. The rules would prevent internet providers from selling your web browsing history even though, the argument goes, websites like Google and Facebook would remain free to do the same thing. ISPs say that’s unfair and makes it hard for consumers to understand who gets to see their browsing data.

But the argument is extremely misleading, if not outright wrong: Google and Facebook can’t see your web browsing history, they can only see what you click on while you’re on their own websites or on websites connected to their ad networks. Meanwhile, internet providers get to see a bit of nearly everything you do and visit; and even with the rules in place, they have every right to build the kind of ad-tracking websites that Google and Facebook have built. It’s just hard work, and they don’t want to do it.

And it’s not just your web browsing history. It’s pretty much everything you do online:

Financial and medical information. Social Security numbers. Web browsing history. Mobile app usage. Even the content of your emails and online chats.

These are among the types of private consumer information that House Republicans voted on Tuesday to allow your internet service provider (ISP) to sell to the highest bidder without your permission, prompting outrage from privacy watchdogs.

Yes, it’s partly about lining the pockets of telecoms and ISPs. But it’s also about the ongoing Republican dream of a total surveillance state.

In Fourth Amendment terms, this law makes the internet very nearly an “open field.” If your ISP can sell your browsing history, mobile app usage, the content of your emails and online chats, even financial and medical information – without your knowledge or consent – then you have almost no reasonable expectation of online privacy. Your ISP can sell your most intimate information to data-mining firms that use complex statistical analysis to reveal things you might not even know about yourself, and then your ISP or the data-miners can sell that information to the government.

That adds up to damn near 24/7 surveillance … of everyone. It’s not quite real-time, as ISPs don’t stream-share the data (yet) and data-miners need time to crunch it through their algorithms. But it lets government agencies see almost everything you do online with only a few days’ (or hours’) lag – without a search warrant backed by probable cause, or even any reason to suspect you of criminal activity – simply because the law says your ISP and data-miners can sell that information to anyone … and “anyone” includes government agencies.

That’s what House Republicans voted to approve yesterday, and the Out House said the God-King will sign the bill. Color me not surprised….

“Almost comically plutocratic policy smeared with a thick sheen of populist rhetoric”

Speaking of the God-King, he just threw a whole pile of money at coal mine owners:

In January 2016, the Department of Interior placed a temporary moratorium on the leasing of federal land to private companies for the purposes of coal mining.

Today, President Trump signed an executive order that, among other things, reversed that moratorium.

Will it matter? Eh. Not really.

The resumption of federal coal leasing won’t boost short-term coal production. It won’t slow, much less halt, the ongoing decline in coal mining jobs, or affect the price of electricity. It will do nothing for the coal miners to whom Trump has so vigorously pandered. All it may do is subsidize the future profits of a few coal company executives.

Like much of Trump’s record so far, it is almost comically plutocratic policy smeared with a thick sheen of populist rhetoric.

Vox’s David Roberts gives a detailed explanation at that link, and it’s worth reading in full.

“Please stop shaking your head again”

Meanwhile, Out House Sewer Spewer Sean Spicer decided to scold American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan’s body language:

Thanks to the dysfunction stemming from his boss, White House press secretary Sean Spicer is getting heavy exposure to the public via televised daily sessions in the briefing room. And the more we see of him, the nastier he appears.

On Tuesday he again showed his manipulative and churlish side in an exchange with April D. Ryan, the longtime White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks. Ryan has been sitting through White House briefings since the second term of President Bill Clinton, and she had a big-picture question for Spicer after some rocky months for the Trump administration. “Two and a half months in, you’ve got this [Sally] Yates story today, you’ve got other things going on, you’ve got Russia, you’ve got wiretapping,” said Ryan, until Spicer cut her off.

“No, we don’t have that,” said Spicer.

Ryan kept pressing, shaking her head at Spicer’s lies, and he didn’t like that:

After some more pushback from Ryan, Spicer said, “I appreciate your agenda here.” He said that people briefed on the Russia thing have reached the same conclusion about this matter. And as he unfurled his explanation, he snapped at Ryan: “I’m sorry that that disgusts you. You’re shaking your head. I appreciate it,” he said with sarcasm.
Then the conversation took a turn. Ryan asked about a meeting with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, someone who hasn’t supported Trump. Spicer responded: “It’s interesting that you ask those two questions back to back. On the one hand, you’re saying what are we doing to improve our image? And then here he is once again meeting somebody that hasn’t been a big supporter of his. … It seems like you’re hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays. … I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again.”

Her response summarized it nicely:

“I am a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated”

In response to a different insult from a different white man, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) mirrored Ryan’s defiance:

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), quite frankly, doesn’t give a damn about Bill O’Reilly’s comments about her hair. At least, she’s not letting him get to her. After the Fox News host said on Tuesday that Waters’ hair reminded him of a James Brown wig, viewers at home called out O’Reilly for the sexist and race-tinged remarks. But the California representative remained unfazed by the comments. During an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Waters told viewers exactly why: “I am a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined.”

Hillary Clinton defended both of them – and women everywhere – in a speech last night in San Francisco:

But hey, she was a lousy candidate … right? I think Occam wants his Big Paisley Tie back.


Image Credit: Fossbytes


Good day and good nutsyour ISP or the data-miners can sell that information to the government