On April 3rd, 2017 President Donald Trump signed legislation allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to save and sell your private online search data.
This means ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon will have access to anything you have searched for, even in private browsing mode, and can sell that information to the highest bidder.
The ISP lobbyists and their cronies in Congress successfully argued that it was unfair to restrict service providers from spying on your browsing habits because online companies like Facebook can already legally use browsing data to advertise to you.
But companies like Facebook are opt-in and can be blocked from accessing your data by using private browsing modes or connecting via a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Your ISP can see what you've looked at online no matter what security measures you take.
ISPs also typically have monopoly power over entire areas of the country, all while collecting federal subsidies to expand their broadband capacity. This means consumers have no choice but to be automatically "opted-in" to being actively monitored online by their monopoly-holding ISPs if they want to connect to the internet.
It's time to stand up for basic consumer rights and stop the for-profit collusion of our elected officials and greedy, privacy-invading internet service providers. We're calling on state legislatures around the country to address this serious problem by introducing state legislation to add crucial protections for citizens of their states.
How We're Taking Action:
Democracy Resources is collecting signatures online to pressure the 50 state legislatures into passing state-level legislation to reign-in the ISPs and give consumers the protections that were just stripped by the bill President Trump signed into law this week. The Minnesota legislature introduced similar legislation last week.
As we approach 2018, we are also studying the viability of filing initiatives in multiple states and gathering signatures to put them on the ballot. Please sign our online petition today to help us take the first step toward protecting consumers from privacy intrusions by their internet service providers.
The bill killed the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) privacy framework, which was created to protect the usage of broadband consumers' sensitive data:
- Requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to ask for permission before collecting sensitive information such as content of communications, precise geo-location, financial information, etc.
- Allowing users to opt out of giving sensitive information to ISPs
- Only allow ISPs to collect basic service information
- Notify customers within 30 days that their data has been stolen in a data breach
ISPs (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cox, etc) have lobbied $1,726,288 against these regulations and have passed the bill through Senate 50 to 48 and the House 215 to 205. These votes were made along party lines but whether you are on the Democrat or Republican side, this issue affects the privacy of all Americans sets precedent for future privacy-killing laws being passed.
The elimination of of these rules allows ISPs to:
- Monitor and sell all of your location data, search history, app usage, and browsing habits without your permission
- Hijack your search results and redirect your traffic to paying third parties
- Insert ads into web pages that would not have otherwise had them