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Republicans The Internet Government Network Privacy Security

GOP Senators' New Bill Would Let ISPs Sell Your Web Browsing Data (arstechnica.com) 300

Yesterday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced a resolution that would overturn new privacy rules for internet service providers. "If the Federal Communications Commission rules are eliminated, ISPs would not have to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing web browsing data and other privacy information with advertisers and other third parties," reports Ars Technica. "The measure would use lawmakers' power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking 'shall have no force or effect.' The resolution would also prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future." From the report: Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that. The privacy order had several major components. The requirement to get the opt-in consent of consumers before sharing information covered geo-location data, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications. This requirement is supposed to take effect on December 4, 2017. The rulemaking had a data security component that required ISPs to take "reasonable" steps to protect customers' information from theft and data breaches. This was supposed to take effect on March 2, but the FCC under newly appointed Chairman Ajit Pai halted the rule's implementation. Another set of requirements related to data breach notifications is scheduled to take effect on June 2. Flake's resolution would prevent all of those requirements from being implemented. He said that this "is the first step toward restoring the [Federal Trade Commission's] light-touch, consumer-friendly approach." Giving the FTC authority over Internet service providers would require further FCC or Congressional action because the FTC is not allowed to regulate common carriers, a designation currently applied to ISPs.
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GOP Senators' New Bill Would Let ISPs Sell Your Web Browsing Data

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  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:43PM (#54003117)
    just to put a point on it: nothing, no way, no how, is private after exposure to the internet.
    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:49PM (#54003149)

      There's a difference between a few parties having access to it through means whose legality is under a cloud and anyone with enough money being able to purchase it whenever they want.

      Compare this to pre-Internet days. It's as if anyone could buy your phone records from the phone company, or could buy the senders and recipients of all of your mail, and possibly even buy the information describing the kind of mail.

      This is taking a situation that was already wrong to start with and making it so much more wrong that it's hard to put into words.

      • There's a difference between a few parties having access to it through means whose legality is under a cloud and anyone with enough money being able to purchase it whenever they want.

        Compare this to pre-Internet days. It's as if anyone could buy your phone records from the phone company, or could buy the senders and recipients of all of your mail, and possibly even buy the information describing the kind of mail.

        This is taking a situation that was already wrong to start with and making it so much more wrong that it's hard to put into words.

        Well put. Puntended.

        Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that.

        The protection of your average citizen's privacy is the tech equivalent of mandatory seat belts, child seats, and motorcycle helmets. Sometimes, we have to protect the public from themselves.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that.

          ISPs will raise prices by $10/month, and then offer customers a $10/month discount if they allow their personal data to be shared with "selected, trusted partners" (i.e. anyone with a chequebook).

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      Sure, but "exposure to the internet" is constantly getting redefined.

      Put it this way, if previous generations minded their mail getting read by censors and fought hard to put the end to it, why are we now allowing this but "on computer" to come back?!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by taustin ( 171655 )

      The internet is a public place. Do not do anything on the internet that you wouldn't do in your front yard. To expect more privacy than that is to completely, utterly fail to understand the internet.

      • by zieroh ( 307208 )

        The internet is a public place. Do not do anything on the internet that you wouldn't do in your front yard. To expect more privacy than that is to completely, utterly fail to understand the internet.

        That's the stupidest false equivalence I've heard all day. Truly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Ijiot, oh noes, don do no banking, don do no insurance, don do no credit card shoppin, don talk to doctor, just how fukin stupid are u (and you deserved it for that comment). We have a right to privacy on the internet and we have the right to force government to regulate and enforce that privacy with surprise data audit and custodial sentences. Not only should that dick be thrown out of government but a taring and feathering would be appropriate. We the are not the fuck for sale and no lying shit fuck polit

      • no, YOU fail to understand 'the internet'.

        there is sll, ssh, other secure transports. you CAN have a secure channel and its not hard. I vpn into work when I need to and that's secure, too.

        you have given up. that's sad. but stop speaking for the rest of us. many of us refuse to give up and this is a fight worth fighting.

        if you are too wussified to fight, that's on you, brother. but the rest of us still have fight in us and we know this is a solvable problem.

        all the issues are political. we have had ne

      • If someone was following me around 24/7 whenever I'm in public, recording where I visit and selling the info, I'd get a restraining order against them. Public means others can see what you are doing. It doesn't mean they have a reasonable expectation to be able to record you 24/7.

        There is a difference between being followed by a PI (something you'll never be able to prevent) and having everyone tracked by some company (something much easier to prevent). Just because something happens to be legal doesn't mea

    • https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-148A1_Rcd.pdf [fcc.gov]

      Here's the text of this particular FCC regulation put into effect by un-elected officials. I wonder if these regs were struck down by Congress because of the desire to do away with privacy or because of other more specific concerns with what is in this 200+ page document.

      Keep the those knees jerking though!!
  • by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:48PM (#54003147)
    I bet lobbyists will pay top dollar for a Senator's browsing data.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      With the amount he is getting, I would sell your data as well and would not mind if I have to throw in mine.

  • Required inversion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lq_x_pl ( 822011 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:52PM (#54003177)
    Remember, regardless of party affiliation, when you read a politicians description of a bill, you must invert most of the descriptive language he uses.
    ...consumer-friendly approach.
    Tells us the results will certainly be consumer-hostile.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And if it includes the words 'innovation' or 'freedom' in the title, it's an unreservedly awful and corporatocratic bill

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:12PM (#54003273)

      Remember, regardless of party affiliation, when you read a politicians description of a bill, you must invert most of the descriptive language he uses.

      You are gonna love H.R.1275 - World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017. [congress.gov]
      I shit you not, that is the actual name of the bill.

  • Simple explaination (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:07PM (#54003247)

    Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that.

    It won't. I love how our representatives think reducing regulations on companies increases our protection and/or freedoms.

    I'll be waiting for an ISP will sell the Senator's browsing information and/or his inadequately protected personal to get stolen so he can understand how his "protections from regulations" worked out... I imagine it will show he's into Furry Porn.

    • I'm sure furry porn is way too pedestrian for our esteemed government people.
      • This is not even speculation - and it's definitely a bigger issue on the republican side of the aisle. Bush's speaker of the house got convicted of raping kids remember - then the story got REALLY crazy.
        See he had bribed the kids to stay silent, quite big bribes too. The kid who reported him and got his ass convicted had gotten a 2 million dollar bribe.

        We know... because the good speaker is now suing him demanding his bribe money back because the kid reported the rape and so didn't keep his end of the bribe

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Dox the fucker. Let him personally experience what it means to have no personal privacy. I doubt it will change his mind (Republicans are stupid that way) but at least he will suffer and he deserves to.
      • If you SWAT a politician is that
        1) Civil Disobedience ?
        2) High Treason ?
        3) Using your tax dollars for maximum effect ?
        4) All of the above ?

        I have no idea anymore... but I'll tell you this, do that and the law will very soon treat SWAT-ing as the extremely serious crime it actually is.

        • I didn't see anyone suggest SWATing him. Just make sure people know his cell phone numbers, his personal email addresses, and which hotels and/or airport restrooms he meets his non-spousal sex partners at.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:09PM (#54003261) Journal
    Just buy a good, fast VPN and your ISP gets nothing.
    All an ISP can then see is that a consumer is enjoying their privacy again.
    • Until the FCC is sufficiently emasculated that the ISPs can do some deep packet inspection and slow your encrypted tunnel down to 1 byte per hour, you know, for "QOS",

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Cheap deep packet inspection cant find everything due to costs and the needed speed at the ISP end.
        So a good fast VPN can work out what an ISP is using and alter its network use.
        Think of how the average VPN gets around all of the advanced networking efforts in Communist China.
  • Question... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why do Americans keep voting for these corrupt bastards?
    • Because we have FPTP, privately funded elections, and no congressional term limits. The combination of these three things mean that even though the approval rating of Congress is at an all time low, the incumbency rate is at an all time high.

      Basically, they have rigged the game so that it is far easier to win an election once you are already in power.

    • by alexo ( 9335 )

      Why do Americans keep voting for these corrupt bastards?

      Because there's nobody else.

      The only ones that can make headway in politics are corrupt bastards. It's inherent in the system.

      • Because politicians are very good at telling people what they want to hear.

      • There are some unscrupulously honest people on the hill. Bernie Sanders exists. So does Elizabeth Warren.

        Granted they are hugely outnumbered - but you may notice they are also decidedly on the left. The last person on the right who had a reputation for such honesty was Ron Paul (I was never a fan of his policies, I consider them insane, but I'll grant that he probably deserved his reputation for honesty) - his own son is so much of a classic beltway insider that it's a joke.

        Those few who make it, make it in

  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:11PM (#54003271)

    Contact Senator Flake: https://www.flake.senate.gov/p... [senate.gov]

    You don't have to be from AZ - put in whatever information you like. Express your discomfort that he's submitted a bill removing consumer protections that let ISPs violate our privacy and sell our medical, health, and financial information to anyone they want without our permission.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Be sure to attach a $50,000 campaign donation, a bag of blow and, this is the really tricky part, three hookers. Hope that web form is a Web 2.0 form!

    • He is up for reelection in 2018. Looks like he will have a competitor [wikipedia.org] on his right (is that possible???) and of course there will be a democrat [dscc.org] in the race [wikipedia.org] too. Donating, then write him a note explaining why you are donating!
      • by AaronW ( 33736 )

        Sadly that's often how things work, money talks. I like the system Arizona used to have where if one candidate took in private campaign contributions the state would match contributions to the other candidate if they publicly financed their campaign. Sadly this was struck down by the conservative branch of the supreme court who like to think that money == speech.

    • R's see dollar signs.

      unless your letter carries a suitcase of bills, of the green kind, no R will ever give you the time of day.

      they have their daddies. and guess what; its not you!

  • by RLBrown ( 889443 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:12PM (#54003275) Homepage
    Just to chime in on a couple of trends I noticed in the earlier posts. First just because a vast population of hackers out there may be able to view your browser history, does not mean they will. Frankly, you are not interesting to hackers. You are interesting to advertisers, which what the Congressional Bill favors. Second, if there was an FCC privacy rule protecting you, it can not be overridden by a Terms of Service agreement. A TOS is just a contract between you and the ISP. In the hierarchy of law, that is the lowest level. If there is a local, state, federal, or Constitutional provision that protects you, that ends the story right there.
  • Serious question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:13PM (#54003281)

    "Yesterday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced a resolution that would overturn new privacy rules for internet service providers."

    Seriously question: why are Republican lawmakers so willing to sell out their own constituents? And why do rank and file republican voters go along with it?

    They're against anything and everything that would seem to be good for the people of their states and districts- healthcare, privacy protection, consumer protection, environmental protection, financial regulation on banks and mortgage companies, etc etc etc.

    I mean, what the fuck?

    • If you think about it the root cause is mostly religion. Most recent Republicans have exploited religious leanings and gotten votes from rural America. They are just the best politicians money can buy right now. Dems are no better but generally their vote bank is a little more educated and conscious compared to the right.

      • If you think about it the root cause is mostly religion. Most recent Republicans have exploited religious leanings and gotten votes from rural America. They are just the best politicians money can buy right now. Dems are no better but generally their vote bank is a little more educated and conscious compared to the right.

        I agree that when it comes to claiming the "religious high ground" that the Republicans are always first to plant the flag. Their faux moral outrage has been honed to an art form over the last few decades.

    • There is an overwhelming consistency of belief among their constituency that things don't apply to them. Along with this is a strong apathy towards the "common good." GOP lawmakers make use of that.
    • This dude Flake represents a massive gerrymandered district which encompasses part of phoenix and a huge swath of land to the north and east. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] This bill would not affect most of his constituents as most of them don't even have high speed internet, so he's safe. The question is, who's paying him to introduce this bullshit?
      • This dude Flake represents a massive gerrymandered district

        This is a perfect example of what I was referring to...the federal court in Richmond found that the primary purpose of North Carolina's "voter ID" laws wasn't to stop voter fraud, but rather to disenfranchise minority voters. The judges found that the provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision."

        https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

    • 1. They're bought and paid for.

      2. They're largely single issue voters. Either they're the ones doing the buying from #1 and just want low taxes, low wages (for their employees) and no regulations or they're "values voters" who vote on religion, abortion or gun control.

      The left is a much, much loser coalition so they tend to lose. Every few years everything goes to shit and the left gets in charge, fixes a few things, and as soon as things get a little better the right take over with their superior or
    • Their constituents spend all their time watching "reality" TV.

      Healthcare, privacy protection, consumer protection, environmental protection, financial regulation, etc are on a different channel.

    • I mean, what the fuck?

      you understand all you need.

      they are evil (almost biblical def of that word). they are liars, cheats, thieves and violate all of 'jesus' ideas' even though they like to think of themselves as the party of jesus.

      jesus would have been 100% the opposite. big corps would be seen as evil by him, individuals are golden and he would ensure that everyone gets healthcare, no one has their life ruined SIMPLY due to money issues, etc etc. pretty much the exact opposite of the R mentality, whic

    • by AaronW ( 33736 )

      For the same reason they're convinced net neutrality is bad because it denies their corporate donors of their god given dollars. It's the same reason they're against having a consumer financial protection bureau or against banking regulations or environmental regulations or anything else that interferes with their corporate overlords.

      What we need is an amendment that clears the money out of politics. As far as I'm concerned, campaign contributions and PACs are legalized bribes and I say this as someone who

    • Because most of them labor under the impression that the free market solve everything better than government. Under that theory if you have two isp, one selling your browsing habit the other not, if the free market (consumer) decide they want to protect their privacy, then they will flock to the one not selling and the other one will have to adapt or die.

      Naturally the clever reader will immediately see the flaws in that. There are captured market which are not free (like isp) therefore it is illusory to t
    • by Zemran ( 3101 )
      I would imagine that they hope to sell said data but they seem to misunderstand the tech. Google already do that much better than your ISP can as the ISP cannot separate you, your wife, your son, your daughter and your dog. The advertisers will stay with Google.
  • This guy spends all day every day just visiting this one IP. Weird!

  • by liquid_schwartz ( 530085 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:25PM (#54003371)
    It's times like these that I think Damn, why did the Dems have to run Hillary. This never would have happened if Bernie had been allowed to win the nomination.
    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @09:36PM (#54003803)
      Funny, you say that like it was the DNC who picked her, not the millions of people who voted for her in the primaries. I voted for Sanders too, but Clinton did actually legitimately win. The only thing that was going to beat her was another Obama-type candidate who could mobilize and win over enough people on both the left and to the center to outweigh her name recognition and connections.

      Unfortunately, the Democratic party bench was so slim, and there were so few candidates interested in running this time, that Sanders was the only serious candidate to pick up the torch. I think someone like Elizabeth Warren could have made a lot more headway against Clinton, for instance, but she declined.

      What I wish is that Clinton had gotten herself better general election advisors, that would have told her to do more to actively shore up the base, run ads that tell people about her programs, and not rely on the fact that her opponent was a complete troglodyte. Instead they seemed to think she could coast to victory solely on that, and could make a play for moderate Republicans (as if any still exist that haven't drunk the koolaid) and she wound up badly, badly mistaken.
    • This never would have happened if Bernie had been allowed to win the nomination.

      You bring up a good point and inadvertently another. Bernie never would have been totally excluded from eligibility if we had ranked voting [wikipedia.org] because a Bernie supporter could still vote for Bernie and have the fallback vote. How many "Never Hillary" people would have voted for Bernie, Trump and some other people? Options are good and we need to fix our voting system that is limiting our options.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kronix1986 ( 1060830 )

      If you think a Jewish socialist liberal would've won the Presidency against Trump, you're as stupid as Bernie supporters who voted for Trump out of spite. Obama and Hillary are centrist/centre-right by European standards and still got massacred for being "socialist communist atheist Marxist liberals".

      Bernie on the other hand is a traditional centre-left European politician, and would've been annihilated by the GOP and hostile news media for his openly "socialist" (aka social democratic) views. Sanders faced

    • Don't be so sure. Bernie would have suffered seriously from corporate opposition crippling his fundraising efforts, and the attack ads for an admitted socialist practically write themselves.

      Remember that Hillary nearly won - she actually did win the popular vote. Trump only won because the somewhat strange rules of the electoral collage gave him an advantage.

  • by quonset ( 4839537 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:27PM (#54003387)

    We all know porn is big business in this country, and oddly, those who whine the loudest about porn's influence on society are the largest consumers of porn.

    As far back as 2009, studies showed people in the Midwest and deep South [newscientist.com], heavy bible-belt country, had larger amounts of porn consumption than other parts of the country. A more recent survey showed the same thing but also, in those places where same-sex marriage was outlawed, gay porn consumption was higher than other places [wtvr.com], including where same-sex marriage is legal.

    This bill will make it very interesting for those folks to explain why they're getting ads for sexual enhancers, condoms, lube and toys.

  • Kill it at the root (Score:4, Interesting)

    by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:28PM (#54003393)

    Make aggressive adblockers the default option in browsers, that reduces the value of the information significantly.

  • Small minded, mean spirited assholes who don't care about anyone who can't give them $$$.

    Dems aren't any better on the $$$ front, but at least they think about not being evil.
  • This guy Flake is not a flake, he's a dick.
  • It should really be explained to legislators that internet data and telephone calls are virtually the same thing now. If your ISP can sell all of your data, so can whoever you are using for your telephone calls.

    Maybe if it were explained in those terms, there would be more support for network neutrality.

  • Okay so this rule means they're going to have to get your consent. Will they put it on page 55 of the end-user license agreement you aren't reading and just agreeing to anyway when you sign up?

    This solves nothing. The problem is a lack of competition.

  • If you think that your browsing data is private right now, you're just kidding yourself; privacy regulations are meaningless.

    The way to make communications private is through technology, not regulations.

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