Congress Strikes Down Internet Privacy Rule—Opens Floodgates for More Massive Corporate and Fascist Regime Spying

March 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Stop Massive U.S. Spying. We must drive out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime

Late Tuesday afternoon, March 28, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a resolution striking down the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services. This rule was supposed to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from collecting, storing and selling people’s private information, without the consent of the customer. Now a handful of giant telecom conglomerates—mainly AT&T, Comcast and Verizon which exercise a near monopoly over Internet access—will be able to do so without restriction. This resolution would also prevent the FCC from adopting such privacy restrictions on the telecom giants again. It has already passed the Senate, and the Trump White House says they’ll sign it. (The Trump/Pence regime has already knocked down provisions that ISPs have to take “reasonable measures” to protect customers’ confidential information such as credit card and Social Security numbers.)

ISPs can now collect your browsing and shopping history, exact location, health and financial background, family and personal connections, political preferences, and no doubt more without asking permission. This is far more information that can be collected than by a particular web browser (like Google Chrome) or social media platform (like Facebook), which you can choose to use, or not. You have no choice about having to sign up with an ISP to get online—which is increasingly a requirement in society today to look for and apply for jobs, buy airline tickets, stay in touch with family and friends, and do many other things. Today nearly 70 percent of people living in the U.S. have a home broadband connection.

This is an obscene invasion of privacy, driven in part by capitalism’s compulsion to maximize returns and competitive advantage, a compulsion which has been further unfettered under Trump. (The New York Times estimates the telecommunications monopolies will reap billions more in profits from this change.)

But it’s more than that, and more ominous than that. There’s a long, sordid history of U.S. telecom corporations secretly collaborating with U.S. spy agencies. Just to name one example, in 2015 the New York Times reported that “AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale.” Now, according to the privacy advocacy group Fight for the Future, the new measure will "enable more unconstitutional mass government surveillance.”

And all this information and expanded surveillance will likely be put at the disposal of a fascist regime—the Trump/Pence regime—which is hellbent on crushing opposition to its illegitimate rule.


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