Liberals and Conservatives Alike Oppose Internet Anti-Privacy Bill

The South Dakota Democratic Party agrees with me that the votes by Kristi Noem, John Thune, and Mike Rounds to block better online privacy rules are not cool:

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.

12 Responses to Liberals and Conservatives Alike Oppose Internet Anti-Privacy Bill

  1. If any proof were needed that Thune, Rounds and Noem are bought and paid for by special interests – this vote is the proof.

  2. Marty Jackley should gain a lot of mileage in the governor race talking about how Kristi Noem sold out every South Dakotan’s internet privacy.

  3. This issues seems to clearly frame the profit of the corporation over the privacy of the individual quite clearly. There is NOTHING to be for this sale of browsing history except for the pure profit of that sale for the purchaser. Is there any resource that is not open to exploitation for profit? This goes hand-in-hand with the “regulation bad” mantra and dismantling of EPA protections: if our corporate overlords demand more profit, we will serve the them means for that profit – even if self-destructive.

    I want to “make America great again”; like when a corporation had to demonstrate its existence was in and for the public good. I don’t like the America where everything is an exploitable resource for corporate profit.

  4. Now I’m torn: should the Democratic nominee hope for Noem to win the nomination so the Democratic nominee can run against Noem’s vote against online privacy and other Trumpy madness? Or can the Democratic nominee find even more to run against Jackley on?

    O’s point is Colbert’s point: nobody outside of telecom board rooms thinks this bill is a good idea.

  5. Maybe we can bring this up in the next public town hall meeting they host…wait..what?!? Just praying that everyone has long memories on this one.

  6. But my point is that this is not just “this bill.” Putting “business first” and profit as the first commandment paves the way (rest of the way) for the US to become a kleptocracy. The right to unfettered corporate profit trumps any public concern: it is more protected than health, safety, or privacy. I would bet the same legislators who voted for this have a trail of votes that roll back environmental protections that “cost businesses money,” and roll back worker rights and compensation that “cost businesses money,” and roll back financial/consumer protections that “cost business money.”

    That fact that “nobody outside a telecom board rooms thinks this bill is a good idea” really casts a bright light onto the motives of the congressmen, congresswomen, and senators who voted for the exclusive interests of those board rooms. More precisely, it demonstrates who those legislators answer to – who REALLY put them in office.

  7. Kleptocracy just like Putin’s Russia, the plan the KGB set in motion during the Gorbachev era to maintain its position of privilege and raid the commonwealth for its members’ own profits.

  8. mike from iowa

    Profit before people has ever been the wingnut way, It is written and so it is true.*

    Read ’em and weep- literally.

  9. ‘Putting “business first” and profit as the first commandment paves the way (rest of the way) for the US to become a kleptocracy.’

    Exactly what “o” said. while the elite rip us off in every way possible, we’re being left with a feeling our privacy doesn’t matter and we’re nothing but numbers and tools. It’s a question mark on our privacy. In fact it goes beyond that and questions us as a nation. Last time i checked we were a free state. Sure we have laws that govern us but our privacy was never in as much under question as it is today. Should I care if Nielsen wants to know why i prefer CK over Nike? Funny how the government is bailing out of the responsibility of protecting our privacy and letting third party tools, like ivacy, and others to assume the role of protecting our anonymity. At least Minnesota and Illinois have foresight and are trying to work things out in their own capacity.

  10. I don’t like companies tracking me online and selling the data but folks all this action did was give ISPs such a Verizon the same rights Facebook and Google have had for some time. Facebook and Google make 80 to 90% of their income from selling your browsing and posting histories. Why were they allowed to do this while other ISPs were not? It’s called leveling the field.

  11. Douglas Wiken

    I just listened to some interviews on NPR or Pub TV about this. We have to pay our ISPs for service and in SD that is usually grossly overpriced. Google is free. We do not have to use it to access the internet. ISPs are utilities, Google is not. The GOP thugs label this as leveling the field. That is like saying apples and oranges are the same as helicopters. Thune, et al, pushing idea that this is leveling the field are actually plowing the rights of South Dakotans and everybody else who uses an ISP under ground. One of the experts on this area said that instead of doing away with all privacy protections, Those protections should have been extended to services like Google as well.

  12. OldSarg, it’s leveling the field in the wrong direction, the corporate direction, the profits-over-privacy direction. Why not take the policy the other way and protect privacy rights at all levels? Why not subject Facebook and Google to greater limits on what they can do with personal data?

    But see also Doug’s useful utilities distinction.