The Cost of Privacy
Posted by: Michael Carbonara 3/29/17
The Internet brought in a new era of information sharing. Never before in history have individuals had as much access to information on every topic imaginable. But now, consumers might want to reconsider how freely they use the Internet. Congress voted to repeal the privacy protections the Obama administration put in place, allowing Internet Service Providers to sell consumers’ history and data.
Proponents of the bill struggle to justify it citing “free markets” and “consumer choice”. This fails to ignore the large number of Americans unable to switch ISPs as they live in an area where there is only one provider. It is clear that this bill was introduced to help ISPs increase their income at the expense of consumer privacy. A quick glance at the members of congress who voted for this bill reveals some shocking numbers. 264 of the 265 congress members who voted for the bill received money from the telecom industry in the last election cycle. Some “donations” were even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
America tolerated the lobbying industry and its influence over the U.S. government, but at what cost? If consumers’ right to Internet privacy can be bought for personal gain, what other rights do we stand to lose? Some argue that companies need a way to be involved in the political process, and since they cannot vote, they should be allowed to contribute to campaigns. But to what extent should they be allowed to influence politics? Should companies be allowed to decide what rights we as consumers have? I struggle to imagine any individual who would want their search history accessible to anyone with the means to buy it, yet this bill will most likely get passed. It is time we show congress that our privacy and freedoms cannot be bought and that our needs are represented by congress, not their donations.
Sottek, T.C. “The 265 Members of Congress Who Sold You out to ISPs, and How Much It Cost to Buy Them.” The Verge. The Verge, 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15100620/congress-fcc-isp-web-browsing-privacy-fire-sale?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter>.