March 29, 2017

"How the Republicans Sold Your Privacy to Internet Providers."

If you think that NYT headline is an overstatement, explain why.
The bill is an effort by the F.C.C.’s new Republican majority and congressional Republicans to overturn a simple but vitally important concept — namely that the information that goes over a network belongs to you as the consumer, not to the network hired to carry it. It’s an old idea: For decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, federal rules have protected the privacy of the information in a telephone call. In 2016, the F.C.C., which I led as chairman under President Barack Obama, extended those same protections to the internet.
I = Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman, 2013-2017.

Yesterday, AT&T forced me to update U-Verse again and bragged about the special features that would give me new "functionality" — I think that was their word — figuring out my tastes and suggesting things I might like. There were 2 buttons and the "accept" button was highlighted. I switched to "reject" and opted out.

AT&T must really want this.

69 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

Seeing as the NYT doesn't provide a link to the actual bill, name of the bill or any identifying information about the bill, it sure makes it hard to fact check thepartisan arguments about the bill.

I'm generally in favor of privacy, but I'd like to read what the bill actually DOES before I listen to an op-ed piece.

Matthew Sablan said...

This article on The Hill gives some Republican arguments (too costly, not fair, etc.), and I agree. If it is illegal for network providers to sell information about how you use their service, then why can Twitter, Facebook, Target and Google do the same? Remember the high school girl who started receiving ads from Target for baby stuff and that's how her parents found out she was pregnant?

If this is really about privacy, let's slay Google and Facebook too.

Matthew Sablan said...

From the Hill: “Your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family – where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement before the vote Tuesday.

Sounds like the NSA and the IRS.

On a serious note, there's probably a way to secure privacy that Republicans will sign on to, and I'm skeptical about their arguments, but at least I now get the argument.

Todd said...

SSL security prevents a lot of "carrier snooping" but it is not the only way "businesses" listen in on what you do.

You do understand that if you have one of those home Amazon Echo or Google devices, they listen in on your conversations 24/7. How else do they know if you want them to do something.

Read the fine print, the "service" is allowed to use the captured audio for anything they wish. Marketing very likely but who knows what else...

Matthew Sablan said...

“Moving forward, I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers’ online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework," Pai said.

"In my view, the best way to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers’ privacy practices to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area.”

Democrats and activists waged a furious campaign against the bill, trying to peg Republicans as anti-privacy. <-- Also from the Hill. Reading just the Op-Ed, you'd be led to believe Republicans were doing nothing about online privacy. Whether this is enough or not is debatable, but at least it is more clear that it isn't just Evil Republicans who want to sell your data and Good Democrats who don't want strangers know what you Binged last night.

David Hampton said...

I wonder what Obama and company wanted to cover up regarding their internal "calls to action" posts on social media? Home servers and all that pesky classified/unclassified information.

rehajm said...

You already lost your privacy to Amazon and Apple. What's one more to you?

Matthew Sablan said...

Exactly how are these regulations "landmark" if they do nothing to stop the actual biggest data thieves on the Internet (Google, Facebook, email services)? Everywhere I've read just calls it "online privacy," which when I read I assume actually means "things you do online" not the more limited set of individuals it actually is talking about (the stuff your service provider sees).

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, what is the language "totally wipes out" talking about if there are STILL protections out there, per The Hill?

Michael P said...

The NYT oversells what is going on because the Obama administration's regulators created the "privacy gap" in question, tried to close it with a very short schedule (4 months from rule announcement to the new rules being operative), and the FCC already voted to suspend the rules due to concerns over notice-and-comment periods, GLBA, HIPAA, and more.

All that Republicans did was leave things the way they were on November 7th, so that they have time to write rules that make sense to those outside a lame-duck presidential administration.

(No overselling was harmed in the production of this comment.)

rehajm said...

Conveniently the privacy issues lefties want you get your dander up about will dovetail nicely with their position on net neutrality.

David Begley said...

Others here probably know the facts, but my sense is that the ISP's want this info to sell. So if you click on an ad or Amazon listing for a teapot, then you get served up more teapot ads. The ISP sells the info that you are interested in teapots to other teapot makers.

JRoberts said...

I read this article and post and I'm reminded of the old bumper stick that said:

"Don't steal. The Government doesn't like competition"

TreeJoe said...

Google, Facebook, etc. are elective content outlets and platforms. You also don't pay for use of those platforms with money, you pay with your information.

Internet access itself is a pay-for-access model. I pay Verizon ~$1000 a year for very stable, reliable, high-speed internet (~$80/month). This is the equivalent of electrical service in my mind - it's become a utility.

There are huge differences between facebook, a platform I pay nothing to use, collecting and selling my information vs. my ISP doing it. The ISP doing it is the equivalent of my electric provider determining what hours I watch TV so that advertising can be customized to my specific address/socioeconomic status and delivered just to my TV, while still charging me full freight.

Now if Verizon, et. al. started offered a revenue sharing model with me for my info...

There are a few options here:

1. Use a VPN or similar masking service to reduce your visibility online.
2. Wait for ISPs who emerge who specifically offer less information selling.
3. Hope lawmakers fix this soon.

Matthew Sablan said...

Television and radio DO take data and sell it to retailers, just nowhere as effectively as ISPs. How else do you think they know exactly who is watching what at what rates and so whether to run beer commercials or commercials with puppies leaving paw prints that the exasperated mom has to wipe up with Product X?

Why, exactly, is an ISP like a utility because you pay for it? Is it because enough people use it? If Facebook charged users, would you be against them collecting data? Should Netflix not collect data? Can Google collect data from me and my Google drive, but the moment I pay for a premium Google service do they need to stop?

Bob Ellison said...

This is why Trump doesn't use email and prefers face-to-face meetings.

Matthew Sablan said...

[Again: Without the text of the law, I can't tell what I agree or disagree with. And I'm out of time/energy to dig it up at this point. But, "The Internet should be free!" is a sentiment I agree with, but if we're going to do that, DO THAT. Don't half ass it to knock publicly created boogeymen.]

PB said...

Most people hit "accept" without thinking.

Darrell said...

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on 28 March 2017 eliminating some Federal Communications Commission (FCC) jurisdiction over online users’ private data, most notably information about their “web browsing and app usage.”

House Joint Resolution 86 passed in a 215-205 vote. The Senate version, Senate Joint Resolution 34, passed five days earlier.

Matthew Sablan said...

Full text/summary

Matthew Sablan said...

The rule published on December 2, 2016:
1) applies the customer privacy requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 to broadband Internet access service and other telecommunications services.
--> No opinion yet; but if privacy requirements are this important, they should be expanded to everyone touching your data, not just the ISPs.

(2) requires telecommunications carriers to inform customers about rights to opt in or opt out of the use or the sharing of their confidential information
--> This seems like a reasonable rule.

(3) adopts data security and breach notification requirements
--> I get these all the time from banks, stores, OMB, etc. If ISPs are exempt, I'd be surprised.

(4) prohibits broadband service offerings that are contingent on surrendering privacy rights
--> That's a reasonable rule.

(5) requires disclosures and affirmative consent when a broadband provider offers customers financial incentives in exchange for the provider's right to use a customer's confidential information.
--> That's how making an agreement works; you can't have someone accept an incentive without them knowing about it and agreeing to it. So, fine, I guess. Make it a rule?

If this is ALL that these rules did, except for #1 and the stupidity/redundancy that is #5, they don't seem that bad.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know who bought the privacy they sold, but whoever it was, got ripped off. I never click on ads or buy anything suggested to me via interrupting my screen. I only buy things when I initiate the search. On line ads have become invisible to me.

rehajm said...

The ISP doing it is the equivalent of my electric provider determining what hours I watch TV so that advertising can be customized to my specific address/socioeconomic status and delivered just to my TV, while still charging me full freight

You are receiving a discount on the price of 'full freight'. The cost of 'full freight' goes up if they don't sell your data.

JHapp said...

It hurts google, Facebook, and Amazon (Bezos), who have done everything they possible could to hurt republican causes. Small price to pay.

AJ Lynch said...

I am naive of course but how does the Repub Congress deem this a priority versus all the other stuff their supporters want done?

Matthew Sablan said...

If ISPs are bound the Communications Act of 1934, here's a thing banned: "(C) to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine;" does that mean that ISPs would need to ban pop up ads and spam mail?

In addition, the Act says:

"(b) POLICY.

--It is the policy of the United States-- ... (2) to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation."

Also, if ISPs are subject to this act, does that mean they're restricted by the bundling/resale/wholesale requirements?

#1 I think needs more details, and should be a stand alone amendment to the Communications Act.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

On the show "Person of Interest" there was a throw-away line from the computer genius/former NSA employee. Basically, he stated that he invented Facebook because it was hard to gather personal data about people, so he came up with Facebook so that everyone would self-report on themselves.

We now live in the panopticon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon

Act accordingly.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Actually, if I remember correctly, it was "social media" not Facebook in particular.

TreeJoe said...

"You are receiving a discount on the price of 'full freight'. The cost of 'full freight' goes up if they don't sell your data."

Really? My price has been rock solid stable for many years. How much of a discount am I getting? How much money does verizon make today off selling consumer data, and how much of that is revenue-shared with me in some fashion?

Don't know? Then you are just making massive presumptions about their business model.

Balfegor said...

Re: Matthew Sablan:

I agree the news reports make it needlessly difficult to trace back to what is actually going on, probably because the writers didn't want to clutter up their articles with important information like the resolution number. Here is the House resolution (there is a link to the matching Senate resolution. The resolution is a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which provides that Congress can block an administrative rule within a period of time after the rule has been reported to Congress, if both houses pass a resolution disapproving of the rule. The rule in question -- which, notwithstanding all the furore, only dates from December of last year -- is here.

rehajm said...

Don't know? Then you are just making massive presumptions about their business model.

Just because I can't tell you to the penny how much Verizon makes off your data doesn't mean they don't adjust their pricing because of it.

Balfegor said...

Re: TreeJoe:

Yes, just use a VPN. I have one through work, and I've also purchased access through Private Internet Access for personal use. Seems reputable. The one thing I find somewhat irritating about using the VPN -- and this has to do with the architecture of Windows and Android, not the VPN service itself, is that when I use my phone as a hotspot, I can't route all traffic through the VPN. Instead, the phone-traffic goes through the VPN but everyone connected to the phone is naked. I can solve this by routing through my computer (i.e. phone hotspot => computer; computer hotspot => other devices), but it's kind of tricky to set up. My first few tries I couldn't get it to work. I had to configure a wifi hotspot on the computer, set up the VPN as a distinct network connection, activate the VPN, enable sharing of the VPN, activate my previously configured wifi hotspot, and change the shared network to the VPN. And I had to do it in a particular order, because if I did it one way, the VPN wouldn't allow sharing, and another way the hotspot was locked to the naked wireless network. It was really frustrating, and it seems like the kind of thing that ought to be really simple -- Windows has made setting up the wifi hotspot a lot easier than it used to be, after all. I've done it twice now, though, and I think with a bit of trial and error I could get it running consistently.

PatHMV said...

Having dealt with the insanity of HIPPA first hand, my initial instinct is that ANY federal regulation in this type of area is likely to:

1) Do very little to actually protect consumers, and
2) Impose costly bureaucratic requirements on the entities collecting the data.

In general, the companies and entities you probably most want to NOT have access to your sensitive health data are the health insurance company, your employer, and the government. But all 3 can pretty readily get access to your health data, because they have various business needs for it, and can condition their employment of you, or their offering service to you, on your agreement to give access to your data. And the government not only CAN get access to it, but often doctors are REQUIRED to notify the government (in many states, for example, doctors are REQUIRED to notify the Dept. of Motor Vehicles if you have epilepsy).

HIPPA imposes a lot of extra paperwork. Any entity that provides ANY kind of service to a health care provider, from custodial staffing agencies to software service providers to schools sending over interns to work there, that entity must have a "Business Associate Agreement" with the health care provider. Today, they are almost all universal boiler plate, but in the early years, lots of lawyers made a lot of money writing them.

Further, HIPPA regulations now basically declare that the mere fact that someone HAS health insurance is protected health information ,meaning that HR offices in every company and governmental agency in the country has to take additional steps to protect that information. For example, because you're not supposed to communicate protected health information via unsecured e-mail, an HR staffer can't e-mail another HR staffer or the company's health insurance company to talk about the exact premium that should be deducted from the employee's paycheck, because that is PHI. Instead, they are supposed to have a secure portal communications system, which is far more cumbersome than ordinary e-mail.

So while I know little about the specific privacy regulations here, I have no qualms about saying that I'm all for gutting them. Not because I want "Big Data" to have all my private data, but because the government has generally proven to me that they are incompetent at protecting my real interests in this type of situation.

AprilApple said...

AJ Lynch -

Sadly, just like the Corrutpocrat party, the GOP are locked in the persuasion chamber with all the lobbyists, too.

Robert Cook said...

"I am naive of course but how does the Repub Congress deem this a priority versus all the other stuff their supporters want done?"

Yes, you are naive. It's what their deep-pocketed corporate donors want! Their supporters, (the men and women in the street who just vote for them), can eat shit. (This is, of course, true of the Dems, too.)

Curious George said...

If this passes...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AJ Lynch said...

I am naive of course but how does the Repub Congress deem this a priority versus all the other stuff their supporters want done?

Their supporters want a general rollback of government regulation. This is government regulation. While I don't know all the costs/benefits of this particular regulation, it is a pretty good assumption that if the Obama administration did not bother to create the regulation until December of 2016, that it is a turd they are leaving in the punch-bowl on their way out the door.

damikesc said...

This is unacceptable. A completely incorrect decision with no justification for it whatsoever. I'd like to know more about it, however.

This article on The Hill gives some Republican arguments (too costly, not fair, etc.), and I agree. If it is illegal for network providers to sell information about how you use their service, then why can Twitter, Facebook, Target and Google do the same? Remember the high school girl who started receiving ads from Target for baby stuff and that's how her parents found out she was pregnant?

If this is really about privacy, let's slay Google and Facebook too.


I'd go with that before I'd go with "Well, let's let EVERYBODY be like them". That sounds dramatically worse...especially since Zuckerberg isn't known for being all that concerned with privacy.

You do understand that if you have one of those home Amazon Echo or Google devices, they listen in on your conversations 24/7. How else do they know if you want them to do something.

A major reason I don't get them and don't attach my smart TV to the internet. I have the same apps on my Xbox and I can avoid voice recognition with that a lot easier.

Matthew Sablan said...

Just looking at the big picture stuff, I think the intent is good, but the specifics of the rules might need to be tweaked/examined. Making an entire industry suddenly have to comply with a massive piece of legislation seems to me something that should be done by legislation, not rules fiat, for example.

The other rules seem a lot less likely to cause objection as a stand alone rule, and perhaps should be considered individually and reviewed on their own merit. Bundling them with the first point is probably what killed them quickest.

Michael K said...

I never click on ads or buy anything suggested to me via interrupting my screen. I only buy things when I initiate the search. On line ads have become invisible to me.

I have bought a couple of things from ads on facebook. But I use an ad blocker for the rest of my internet surfing.

Facebook ads have gotten a LOT more invasive the past few months. Dunno why.

Original Mike said...

I put an ad blocker on my iPad when Althouse embedded ads within her posts rather than on the side.

TosaGuy said...

Matthew Sablan is on fire today. Well done.

Chuck said...

Yes, Althouse; I think the NYT's headline is an overstatement. I shall let Hal Singer (a principal at Economists Incorporated, a senior fellow at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business) explain why for me:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/washingtonbytes/2017/02/02/how-many-regulators-does-it-take-to-protect-our-digital-privacy/#20cc969f372a

I did go to the Times' webpage as Althouse linked it. And the column by Tom Wheeler was of course there, and perfectly readable. And beautifully rebutted by the Singer column in Forbes as I just posted.

And... arrayed across the top of the Althouse-linked NYT webpage as I read it (I presume that this array changes with some frequency) was the following column headlines, appearing as hyperlinks. You gotta love these headlines, for their lack of subtlety. Like a liberal journalistic baseball bat:

"President Trump Risks the Planet"
"Devin Nunes is Dangerous"
"The Offender of the Free World"
(A picture of Trump appears next to the headline in case you didn't already know who The Offender was.)
and, Tom Friedman's latest;
"Trump is a Chinese Agent."

Darrell said...

It was a power grab by the FCC over FTC controls already in place. The FCC decided to treat ISPs differently from the rest of the internet ecosystem.

Key things to note--in a September 2016 ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court, the court held that because AT&T is a telecommunications company — one of several industries known as “common carriers” — it is exempt from FTC regulations concerning “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” an exemption that applies to its Internet service as well. According to the FCC’s rules, “sensitive customer personal information” includes not only Social Security numbers, financial and health-related data, but web browsing history, content of users’ online communications, and “the functional equivalents of web browsing history or application usage history.” ISPs can still collect such data, the commission found, even if users employ encryption techniques.

When the 9th Circuit Court gets involved against the FTC, you know that some game is afoot.

Chuck said...

Althouse, you are so perceptive. There seems to be a perfectly standard opt-out provision for all of what people are complaining about, and you invoked it, with your ISP. You opted out. And you mentioned it here in your post. I think I am good with all of that. Am I missing something?

rhhardin said...

You may also be interested in our privacy fence and privacy screen.

AJ Lynch said...

"I am naive of course but how does the Repub Congress deem this a priority versus all the other stuff their supporters want done?"

Ignorance is Bliss replied:

"Their supporters want a general rollback of government regulation. This is government regulation. While I don't know all the costs/benefits of this particular regulation, it is a pretty good assumption that if the Obama administration did not bother to create the regulation until December of 2016, that it is a turd they are leaving in the punch-bowl on their way out the door."

I can see your point only if the Congress passed the "turd" law in late 2016 but the House would not have done that right? So if it was a regulation or the result of an Obama Exec Order, why did the House need to pass a law to do away with it?

Thorley Winston said...

I think there’s another explanation which may better explain why the parties lined up the way they did on this issue. Let’s say that an ISP does something that violates the proposed rule – the harm to any individual internet user is going to be minimal. If you tried to sue them for damages, you’d get laughed out of court (your filing fees alone would exceed the amount you’d likely collect). But in comes a law firm that specializes in class action lawsuits and they get thousands of potential plaintiffs to sign on as members of the class. They file suit and negotiate a settlement. The plaintiffs each get a coupon for $14 off the services provided by the defendants and the law firm collects tens of thousands in legal fees which they then turn around and kick back a few thousand to their local Democratic Congressman to encourage them to support more “consumer protection” rules. Rinse and repeat.

Birkel said...

All of the contracts for extraction of private information should be opt-in. All of those contracts should have to be accepted on a line-by-line basis. It is reasonable for the government to protect private property rights. Information about individuals should be theirs to disseminate, or not, as they choose.

Companies should rightly be forced to disclose what they are collecting. Governments can be tasked with forcing disclosures so people may knowledgeably choose the relations they want.

I will go back to paper bills, stamps and surfing the net only at work if companies are released to collect whatever information they prefer. I will cancel my wifi at home, no matter how difficult that proves, otherwise. Reading books would be preferable to having all my private data captured.

Thorley Winston said...

I can see your point only if the Congress passed the "turd" law in late 2016 but the House would not have done that right? So if it was a regulation or the result of an Obama Exec Order, why did the House need to pass a law to do away with it?

Because passing a statute repealing the regulation prevents the FCC from doing it again.

MikeR said...

This is all part of the massive Net Neutrality issue, which is actually a turf war between players like Google and Facebook, and ISPs. The conservative position is probably that there is no need for the government to take sides (and favor Google).

There's a problem right now because some jurisdictions have very limited access to ISPs. Where I live Comcast is all the broadband providers they is, and they're terrible. That would make them a monopoly and a utility and probably should be under more supervision. But annoying as that is for me personally, it doesn't mean the FTC has to step in; my city government could solve it if Comcast hadn't bought them off.
Eventually the problem will go away when more and better microwave ISPs become available. Then people who like privacy can change ISPs and still have fast internet.

AprilApple said...

Looks like it's a dumb move. Optics are all wrong.

GRW3 said...

The Obama "Privacy" approach was a big gift to Facebook and Google and others. I'm pretty much with the thought that it should apply to all or none. No picking winners from your biggest donors.

The Republican response to the outcry should be bill that covers all providers of net services, including Facebook, Google, et al.

Kevin said...

"Looks like it's a dumb move. Optics are all wrong."

Show me anything the GOP does that the media doesn't turn into "wrong optics". Wrong optics is their stock in trade.

Kevin said...

"There are huge differences between facebook, a platform I pay nothing to use, collecting and selling my information vs. my ISP doing it."

Put another way: There are huge differences between facebook, a platform I pay nothing to use because it is free to sell my data, and my ISP, which charges me for service, because it is legally prohibited from doing so.

Darrell said...

Show me anything the GOP does that the media doesn't turn into "wrong optics". Wrong optics is their stock in trade.

The Future Must Not Belong To Those Who Slander the Prophet Marx.

Balfegor said...

Re: AJ Lynch:

I can see your point only if the Congress passed the "turd" law in late 2016 but the House would not have done that right? So if it was a regulation or the result of an Obama Exec Order, why did the House need to pass a law to do away with it?

Exec order can be wiped out with the stroke of a pen. I think there is more process involved if you want to abolish a federal regulation that has passed through notice and comment and all that. I am not an administrative procedure specialist, but I think repeal of regulations has to go through the same notice procedure as implementation of new regulations -- and has to be managed by bureaucrats who may be hostile to the policy preferences of the elected branches -- so Congress passing disapproval regulations is arguably the simplest way of going about it.

JHapp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JHapp said...

GRW3 - Google, Facebook, and Amazon (Bezos/WashPost) are not just Obama donors, they control much of our news.

Inga said...

If my cable bill gets cut in half, I'd be OK with this. I won't hold my breath.

grackle said...

If this is really about privacy, let's slay Google and Facebook too.

Tip of the hat and a thumbs up to the above comment.

… It's what their deep-pocketed corporate donors want! Their supporters, (the men and women in the street who just vote for them), can eat shit. (This is, of course, true of the Dems, too.)

The comment above deserves a toaster, maybe even a Hamilton Beach blender.

I was on Facebook fairly early. My entire family was on Facebook in what seemed like only a few days. But after I guess about a year I realized that although I had new opportunities for seeing photos, making comments and receiving family/friend news, I was actually “seeing” family and friends less; virtual intimacy was replacing in-person intimacy. It seemed to me that we were all losing something vital and fulfilling.

According to my daughter my Facebook page is still there but I haven’t visited it for years. I tried just the other day and Facebook wouldn’t allow it – a window kept insisting I call them. I will never call them. I’ll bet, though, that I’m counted as a “user.” The friend requests must be mounting up.

Sometime back I looked into erasing my Facebook page but it seemed needlessly complicated and time-consuming so I blew that off. It didn’t look like the procedure would be fun. I do very little that is not fun. I do not do stuff that is not fun unless it is necessary for survival or peace of mind.

I’ll admit it: I’m addicted to the internet. But it doesn’t worry me very much. I probably wouldn’t know what in hell is going on without the internet. None of us would. Trump would never have been elected without the internet. Without the internet, the MSM would rule supreme, as it did before the internet – so I believe so far that the benefit outweighs the potential damage to my privacy or my lifestyle. However, I don’t want my ISP to collect and sell my data.

And so far I’ve resisted the temptation to buy a mobile phone. I have an old-fashioned land line. If I’m out – leave a message. I do not want to be available 24/7. I LIKE it that there are times in which I am inaccessible. Sure, the smartphones are a convenience but they’re also a tether, a leash that could be matched with a government-wielded whip if we are not watchful. Are we becoming slaves? Slaves to technology? Slaves to the entities that control the technology?

AJ Lynch said...

Thanks Thorley and Balfegor. I now understand why a law was needed.

Thorley Winston said...

According to this this article, it appears that the FTC had already adopted rules to protect privacy on the internet (including for financial information) but the FCC (which may not have authority in this area) decided to go beyond the FTC rules. So we have two different federal agencies making two different set of rules. Repealing the FCC rules would leave one set of rules - those set by the FTC - intact.

Murph said...

If these protections were so all-fired important, why did the last administration wait until October 2016 to get them in place?
"Passed by the Federal Communications Commission in October, the rules never went into effect."
http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/03/28/521813464/as-congress-repeals-internet-privacy-rules-putting-your-options-in-perspective

Kirk Parker said...

bagoh20,

"On line ads have become invisible to me."

This!!!!

Except for the occasional amusement on FB ("Do You Know Your Arrest Record Is Available Online?") the advertisers have done a remarkable job at training me to ignore certain areas of my display screen.


TreeJoe,

Verizon is publicly traded, isn't it? A little bit of self-help will answer your questions as far as the big picture goes (profitability, in particular.)

Balfegor said...

Re: AJ Lynch:

Happy to help. One correction to my last comment above: I meant Congress passing disapproval resolutions not regulations. Sorry.

Robert Cook said...

"Facebook ads have gotten a LOT more invasive the past few months. Dunno why."

Because, just as we are the products being sold to advertisers via the tv shows we watch, we are the products being sold by "free" content-providing websites, who track our browsing and sell this to sellers of products and services. One cannot selectively click on ads on a particular website here or there and expect to escape having one's online activity tracked and sold to buyers who want it. They, then, sell it to yet others. It's like putting up a picture of oneself naked on the web. One can take it down, but once it's up, it can always be retrieved and recirculated by others, (most easily and often by people who have downloaded it before it is removed by the person who uploaded it originally.)

n.n said...

There are two factors that must considered for privacy: content and location.

It is insufficient to secure the first, while permitting tracking of the second. Content can be secured in transit, but becomes vulnerable at endpoints. Tracking can only be delayed through layers of obfuscation or prevented through dedicated, independent facilities (e.g. Planned Chatting).

That said, the federal government, or rather its employees, has a poor record of securing privacy (e.g. OPM breach, IRS baby hunt, wiretaps, secured nuclear facilities, health records)... unless there is a compelling interest, for example: abortion rites and clinical cannibalism.

Known Unknown said...

"provider determining what hours I watch TV so that advertising can be customized to my specific address/socioeconomic status and delivered just to my TV, while still charging me full freight."

AT&T/DirecTV are already doing this. It's called addressable advertising. They can target ads on a household basis.