So Much for Draining the Swamp
It's official. In what should have been a non-partisan issue and civil stance on our human right to privacy in the modern era, the Republicans instead sold us out to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Round-up of informative articles about this:
- BBC: Anger as US internet privacy law scrapped
- NYT: How the Republicans Sold Your Privacy to Internet Providers
- The Verge: The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them
- WSJ: House Approves Bill to Overturn FCC Privacy Rule
Of note is The Verge's article, which outlines all 265 members of Congress (again, for a non-partisan issue, all Republican) who sold us out, and what their take was. For such a monumental retraction of a previous privacy law, the net intake is petty. Between Representatives and Senators, the total intake of donations from telecommunications lobbyists was a paltry $9mm ($9,056,912, to be exact). Perhaps most disappointing is John McCain's name on this, the guy we all thought was tossing punches for the good of democracy.
As the Wall Street Journal Reports:
FCC officials say they will continue for the foreseeable future to oversee the internet-service providers, including their privacy practices.
“We want to recognize and vindicate consumers’ uniform expectation of privacy,” Mr. Pai said last week. FCC officials are working with the FTC to make the two agencies’ standards basically the same.
But consumer advocates say the privacy regulation that Congress rolled back was the only interpretation of exactly what obligations the telecommunications companies have under federal statute. Without the rules, there is not much to guide the companies.
Other questions remain as well. For example, under federal law, the congressional rollback means the FCC cannot adopt “substantially similar” regulations in the future—a concept that is little-tested and subject to debate. That could weaken the FCC’s hand in adopting a replacement rule.
So much for draining the swamp.