Slashing the Internet Privacy Rules Opens All Americans to Blackmail

Slashing the Internet Privacy Rules Opens All Americans to Blackmail

The Senate and then the House have voted to remove the Obama Internet Privacy Rules that forbade Internet Service Providers from packaging and selling our internet data.  This included our Social Security Numbers, our Financial and Health data, our web browsing history, our app usage history, and finally, the content of our communications.  Since Americans have done this assuming privacy, and will still assume some privacy if unaware of this bill, it impinges on their civil rights and the right to privacy.  It leaves Americans open to scrutiny and blackmail at many levels.

In terms of rights, it violates our freedom of speech, and our right to associate.  It also violates our Second Amendment rights cherished by all Republicans, since information on gun sale searches and purchases will now be recorded, violating rights to gun privacy so cherished by the American Rifle Association and its followers.

If we look publicly at who is most likely to be looking up people’s behavior and slinging that as mud, it is political candidates.  They will be the first to buy such personal private information on opponents, starting with the most successful such insulter in the decade, President Trump.  With over three million Americans having at least classified clearances, foreign enemy governments will be buying copies, such as Russia and North Korea, with the purpose of blackmailing people in high places, and finding out our top secrets.  It’s doing all their hacking for them, and making it perfectly legal.

Large employers would also look up potential employees to learn legally about all of their private interests, and act accordingly.

Lets contrast this revealing of ALL American’s data with the President’s fear that he or Trump tower had been bugged, even in a national security investigation, and now proving that he had been incidentally picked up in other investigations.  Remember him bragging that he and Republicans had never been hacked in the campaign, and that the Democrats were to blame because they were hacked.  Remember Hillary being a national security risk because she had a private email server, which had not been hacked.  And the chants “lock her up”.  Remember Trump demanding that Apple provide an open door to all iPhones at any law enforcement level?  Remember Trump saying he used the secure method of hand-delivered messages?  Remember when he publicly asked Putin to release more hacked emails if he had them?  Then there were Trump’s tax returns which he promised us, but were never released, in contrast to all other Presidential candidates.  Then there were the promised but unreleased health records.  We still know nothing about our President’s health.  Can you believe that this super private person who has all contacts sign non-disclosure agreements, is now going to force everything about American’s private interactions to be made public for the right price?

What motivates Republicans to pass such a bill?  Of course they favor industries making a buck, no matter how deleterious it is to people, or to national security.  There is also the matter of cash support to Republican candidates.  The final House vote was 215 yea and 205 nay.  Democrats all voted against the bill, and 15 Republicans defected.  The only Californian Republican to defect was Tim McClintock.  Among local Republicans, we learn from, that Mimi Walters of Irvine received $47,450 in campaign donations, Darrel Issa of Dana Point to La Jolla received $66,275, and Dana Rohrabacher of the local coast received only $1,350 from telecom companies.  Republican Senate contributions were topped by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky at $251,110.

Updates:  it may be that your ISP contract prevents them from selling your data.  Also, data may also only be released demographically instead of individually.  People are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on the internet to buy the records of Congressmen who voted for this bill.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Big Data, Communications, Constitution, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Internet Privacy, Politics, Trump Administration. Bookmark the permalink.

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