In their last election cycles, The telecom industry gave Representative Noem $38,200, Senator Rounds $40,166, and Senator Thune $215,000. Their votes this week indicate the industry’s investment in them has paid off, as once again, Representative Noem and Senators Rounds and Thune are putting big-money donor interests above the welfare of everyday South Dakotans. It seems the tens of thousands of dollars (or in Senator Thune’s case, hundreds of thousands of dollars) they received in campaign donations meant more to our state’s congressional delegation than protecting the Social Security numbers, financial materials, and health information of their constituents [South Dakota Democratic Party, statement, 2017.03.31].
But hey, you don’t have to be a liberal like the SDDP or me to think letting Midco sell your browsing history is a bad idea:
Republican sponsors of the legislation insist the FCC plan was unnecesary and an example of government overreach.
But conservative callers to KELO Radio’s Greg Belfrage Show Friday morning were dead set against ISP’s being able to make money off their online browsing.
“It just seems like a huge invasion of privacy and I’m with you. I’m shocked that I’m on the side of the Democrats and the ACLU,” one caller complained to Belfrage [Mark Russo, “Rounds, Thune Respond to Online Privacy Pickle,” KELO Radio, 2017.03.31].
Russo quotes Thune saying that “we have to keep looking at how to best protect online consumer privacy under one consistently enforced standard.” O.K., Senator Thune, how about enacting and consistently enforcing a standard that says what we read, write, upload, and download on the Internet is as private as what we check out from the library?
Russo quotes Rounds saying that the FCC “needs to go back to the drawing board on these regulations and to a more evidence-based approach….” What evidence do you need, Senator Rounds, that the videos you watch and the e-mails you send should not be sold by your ISP to any liberal blogger with a big crowdsourced checkbook?
Thune, Rounds, and Noem should have listened to Kansas Republican Representative Kevin Yoder, who voted against the anti-privacy bill:
“In the 21st Century, Americans deeply value their privacy when it comes to digital content,” Yoder said in a statement Tuesday. “We don’t want the government having access to our information without our consent, and the same goes for private business.”
“These digital privacy protections put in place by the FCC are commonsense measures similar to long-standing rules that apply to phone companies that will simply ensure internet users can continue to have control over their personal information” [Harper Neidig, “GOP Faces Backlash over Internet Privacy Rules,” The Hill, 2017.03.30].
Yoder got it right, while Thune, Rounds, and Noem got it wrong. As Stephen Colbert noted, “This is what’s wrong with Washington, D.C. I guarantee you, there is not one person, not one voter of any political stripe anywhere in America, who asked for this….” Well, not one person except for the telecom execs to whom Thune, Rounds, and Noem sold our online privacy.