Congress Says Trump’s Tax Returns Are Private But Your Internet Searches Aren’t

The House of Representatives yesterday followed the Senate’s lead and voted against protecting your Internet privacy. These are the same folks, by the way, who voted to protect Donald Trump’s privacy, and when much more is at stake.

The vote tally was 215 to 205, and 15 Republicans actually joined 190 Democrats in voting against it. But it passed. And Donald Trump will likely sign it into law. The Senate passed the bill last week.

Stephen King tweeted

Industry groups are happy of course because Republicans are always big business and anti- actual people. As Quincy Larson writes at FreeCodeCamp,

“You might be wondering: who benefits from repealing these rules? Other than those four monopoly ISPs that control America’s “last mile” of internet cables and cell towers?

“No one. No one else benefits in any way. Our privacy (and our nation’s security) have been diminished so a few mega-corporations can make a little extra cash.”

In case you don’t think this is a big deal, as The New York Post points out, “Sensitive private information” includes app downloads, browsing histories and even financial and medical data.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation will happily enlighten you as to the “Five Creepy Things Your ISP Could Do” with these protections repealed.

King wasn’t alone. The Young Turks co-host John Iadarola pointed to the absurdity of the legislation:

So we have a House that won’t investigate Trump, has no interest at all in data that shows collusion between the Trump’s team and Russia to aid Trump getting elected, but it will let ISPs sell your browsing history.

And it’s worse. Electronic Frontier Foundation says one of the five creepy things they can do is hijack your search engine searches. Yes. They can do that. They have done it:

When you entered a search term in your browser’s search box or URL bar, your ISP directed that query to Paxfire instead of to an actual search engine. Paxfire then checked what you were searching for to see if it matched a list of companies that had paid them for more traffic. If your query matched one of these brands (e.g. you had typed in “apple”, “dell”, or “wsj”, to name a few) then Paxfire would send you directly to that company’s website instead of sending you to a search engine and showing you all the search results (which is what you’d normally expect). The company would then presumably give Paxfire some money, and Paxfire would presumably give your ISP some money.
In other words, ISPs were hijacking their customers’ search queries and redirecting them to a place customers hadn’t asked for, all while pocketing a little cash on the side. Oh, and the ISPs in question hadn’t bothered to tell their customers they’d be sending their search traffic to a third party that might record some of it.

Nothing at all creepy about that, right? If you don’t feel violated, you should. Think this would have gotten past the Founding Fathers? Not likely.

King is spot on in attacking the absurd Republican claim to be all about rugged individualism and individual freedom. Think about it: in colonial days, long before the Internet, what the Republicans in Congress just did was permit businesses to ransack your home to search for your interests in reading materials and through all your medicine to see what you take and for what. If you happen to have a well-worn copy of “Sexy Colonial Gals” they’ll mark that down too.

This is the so-called party of individual freedom refusing to let the government do its job and work for the people who are, after all, the basis of political power in a democracy, not the big corporations the GOP is now allowing to rifle through your drawers and medicine cabinet

Think about it Red Staters. As Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald points out, “MAGA: ISP’s will have right to sell your browsing history to marketers. Red state porn watchers, this means u.”

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