Toledo Talk

Internet privacy

Putting on my activist hat here and pointing out something that you all may not be aware of, but as all seem to be active users of internet services may be interested in. So my community service item here is related to FCC rules coming under revision due to administration.

Currently ISP's (the folks you buy your internet service from) cannot share details of your browsing history with anyone without your express permission (called opt in, you must agree to allow them to share this...if you really wanted them to). There is a bill in congress right now which will reverse the FCC's ruling and allow your ISP to share/sell this information with anyone they wish, without your permission (you would have to expressly contact them and request they do not do this, aka opt out).

If you feel like this would be a violation of your privacy (<IMO it's a REALLY big one!) you should contact your congressional representative and point out your position on this matter (democracy does take a little bit of work ). Find your congressional representative here: Normally you can link to their site and send them an email, quite painless. Let them know that "I'm your constituent, and I urge you to oppose S.J. Res. 34, the CRA resolution to kill the FCC's privacy rules."

If you think it's ok that you get specific offers in the mail (or email) for dog toys since you bought dog food on Amazon, or timeshare offer in Florida because you emailed your Aunt about taking a vacation, or an offer for other kinds of toys because you visited a naughty web site, then don't do anything.

My apologies if this was too long or offended your political views.

created by breeman on Mar 28, 2017 at 11:47:49 am     Technology     Comments: 3

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Comments ... #

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has some more info regarding this here:

posted by breeman on Mar 28, 2017 at 11:50:08 am     #

... the ISP is the only one who has full access to everything you do online, every site you visit, every path and choice as you move between sites, and the full array of apps and services you use. Even with encryption, the URLs and endpoint information can be used to determine a lot about user behavior. And this holistic view of your internet usage could be very interesting and valuable to advertisers, and others.

It would be interesting to know the viewpoints of local ISPs, such as and Buckeye.

posted by jr on Mar 28, 2017 at 12:46:31 pm     #   1 person liked this

Kaptur voted NO.

Latta voted YES.

Mar 28, 2017 - House passes resolution that lets ISPs sell customers' browsing history without user permission; measure will go to President Trump for signature

As most had expected, the House of Representatives today voted 215 to 205 to kill privacy rules protecting US broadband subscribers. If you're interested in a little thing called public accountability, you can find a vote down of which Representatives voted for the measure here.

The rules, approved by the FCC last fall, were slated to take effect this month.

But thanks to relentless lobbying by the broadband and marketing industries, the GOP quickly rushed to dismantle the rules at ISP request.

Today's vote came after the Senate voted 50-48 last week to [kill] the rules. The vote to dismantle the rules is seen as one of the more brazen examples of pay-to-play politics in recent memory. It's a massive win for giant ISPs; especially those like AT&T and Verizon that are pushing hard into the Millennial advertising business.

The FCC pursued broadband privacy rules after companies like Verizon got caught covertly modifying packets to track users around the internet, and companies like AT&T and Comcast began exploring forcing users to pay more for privacy. Other ISPs, like CableOne, have crowed about using financial data to provide poor customers with even worse customer service.

The House voted 215-to-205 Tuesday night to overturn Obama-era regulations that require internet providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to get a user's permission before sharing their browsing history and other data with advertisers. It also prohibits the FCC from creating similar regulations in the future.

... this likely clears the way for ISPs to go full speed ahead in taking on Facebook and Google for digital ad dollars.

Hacker News thread

Here's an idiotic comment from the HN thread:

This, right here, is the consequence of the withdrawal from politics many geeks advocated very strongly in an earlier time. "Everything is corrupt, it doesn't matter"... turns out to only be a viable philosophy when things mostly work well enough.

What a shitbird. Blaming citizens who don't vote is absurd.

I could argue that people who use Facebook and Google products already don't give a damn about privacy.

Here's a a sensible-sounding comment from the HN thread:

Before getting all spun up, I'd dig a little deeper on the issue than what the WaPo does in this piece.

These regulations were only voted on late in 2016 and never went into effect. To do the regulations, the FCC reclassified the internet as basically ye olde telephone system, which then made it subject to their purview based on laws created in the 1930s. This is classic overreach. Congress never gave this authority to the FCC and is acting to put them back in line with the law.

It's pathetic the the WaPo used their platform to create more heat than light on this, by selective quoting. Here's a more full quote from Rep Blackburn that explains her position more fully.

“The FCC already has the ability to oversee privacy with broadband providers,” Blackburn explained. “That is done primarily through Section 222 of the Communications Act, and additional authority is granted through Sections 201 and 202. Now, what they did was to go outside of their bounds and expand that. They did a swipe at the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC. They have traditionally been our nation’s primary privacy regulator, and they have done a very good job of it.”

The lesson here really is that if the issue is really important, then get an actual law passed instead of trying to contort regulatory authority based on laws from the 1930s. The previous president could certainly have done this, but chose not to.

Another level-headed HN comment:

Something that is not mentioned in the [WaPo] article is that the FCC regulations in question were passed in October 2016 and have never gone in to effect. So, to be strictly accurate, the vote does not roll back any regulations which actually ever affected the internet.

posted by jr on Mar 28, 2017 at 07:37:38 pm     #