Amid the masquerade of a hectic newsweek, the US Senate quietly passed a proposal that would eliminate broadband privacy laws, allowing internet service providers to access their customer’s search histories and having the ability to sell and share information, putting all users at a significant risk.
The proposal, which would allow ISPs to sell the data they have to conglomerates, can be used to gain information, or even be sold to advertisers to enable targeted ads shown.
The aforementioned broadband laws, approved in October 2016, protected users’ privacy and were passed by the then Democratic-lead Federal Communications Commission. Similar to the majority of governmental positions, the FCC is now headed by Republicans, leading to the proposal passing through the house with a 50-48 vote.
Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts says, “President Trump may be outraged by fake violations of his own privacy, but every American should be alarmed by the very real violation of privacy that will result [from] the Republican roll-back of broadband privacy protections.”
To add even more conspicuity to an unfastidious situation, ISPs such as Verizon and AT&T have made “donations” to state senators in hopes of persuading them to vote for the bill to pass. This creates an unethical precedence for corporations to be able to take advantage of the public. Verizon is known to have given $27,000 to senator Ted Cruz.
Violation of privacy presents a very modern yet real conflict within not only politics, but everyday life with the proposal’s potential signing as a law. Affecting the everyday citizen, a consumer’s search history can be exploited by potential employers or colleges. An otherwise lackadaisical search can prove to be socially fatal and tarnish the record of an individual, in a sense that should otherwise be a method of anonymity.
What senators seemingly fail to realize is that if made a law, the bill can be harmful to themselves. In a hypothetical situation in which the highest bidder could access the search history of a presidential candidate, made possible with the signing of this law, every candidate would likely be chastised for one thing or another.
The “big brother’ -esque worlds of dystopian novels could become a reality as online privacy is vanquished, a future that many feared would come one day.
To prevent this possible future, large numbers of people are signing petitions and writing letters to their local senators, warning them of the dangers that may follow suit.