FBI Director James Comey said, “There is no longer absolute privacy in the United States.” In the age of information everything you say do, write or watch on television is recorded somewhere. And now Congress is letting your internet service provider sell your personal data including your internet activity.
On Friday, the Senate blocked the implementation Obama administration rules stopping internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from selling customers internet browsing history and other data. The rule itself was scheduled to go into effect next year. It would have been a significant wall to ISP’s efforts to sell your personal data and combine that data with your other services to target advertising at you.
Many people fail to realize, or have become accustomed, to the level of tracking that is done by major corporations. For example Facebook tracks everything users do on their website and beyond, everything! And so do many other social media sites. This move lets ISP ‘s do the same.
But ISP’s have a bit of an advantage over sites like Facebook. For example many ISP’s offer bundled services. You can get television, internet, telephone and even cell phone service and home security in one package and one price. This basically allows them to create a profile of not only what you watch on television, but who you call or calls you, your emails, your web searches, online activity and your mobile activity on your smartphone.
If you use Verizon your profile just expanded significantly. The Senate vote cleared the way for Verizon to link up all its databases. These databases contain customer information from AOL which Verizon purchased in 2015 for $4 billion. Soon that database will get even bigger if the sale of Yahoo! to Verizon goes through.
Since the election of Donald Trump Republicans have worked to undo regulations imposed under President Barack Obama. All 50 Republicans voted in favor of killing the rule while 46 Democrats and two independents voted against.