House GOP Votes To Allow ISPs To Sell Personal Browsing Information
March 28, 2017

On a close vote, the House of Representatives just voted to let ISPs sell your data to whomever they please. Also? They no longer have to inform customers of hacker activity that might affect their accounts.

New Civil Rights Movement:

The House of Representatives passed a resolution today overturning an Obama-era FCC rule that required internet providers to get customers’ permission before sharing their browsing history with other companies. The rules also required internet providers to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any breaches.

The resolution was first passed by the Senate last week and now heads to the president, who’s expected to sign it. At that point, there’ll only be a vague baseline of privacy rules governing internet providers and some promises from them not to misbehave.

I'm not sure which is more terrible. Selling anonymized browsing data or concealing hackers' breaches into customer accounts. Both are certainly not consumer oriented, and benefit no one but large corporations. And hackers. Of course, hackers.

For all those Red Staters who spend more hours surfing adult websites, it should certainly make them more secure about that. You do know that the conservative states are far more likely to be surfing those sites, right? And they really go for the more fetishized kind of content, too. (Yes, I'm trying to keep this safe for work.) Despite the fact that this doesn't allow for names to be connected to content, it seems to me there's still some exposure here.

For the rest of us, I know I'll sleep much better at night knowing that Yahoo!, as part of the Verizon family, will never have to disclose another major data breach to its customers again now that they've got the cover afforded by our Congressional overlords.

Internet Service Providers know what sites you frequent and what apps you use. They are now permitted to sell that data -- albeit anonymized -- to the highest bidder, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it, beyond the somewhat fragile use of a VPN, which is by no means guaranteed to shield your activity or protect your privacy. It might help, but not nearly enough.

On the other hand, maybe we should crowdsource a payment for the White House and Congressional browsing data. I'll bet we'd learn a lot about what they do in a day.

Read more here.

Update: Looks like I wasn't the first to consider Washington, DC's browsing habits fair game.

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