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GOP: How Can Companies Offer You Good Deals If They Don’t Know What Porn You Like?

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On Wednesday morning, a bill arrived on Donald Trump's desk. One that has been vigorously supported by all the Republicans in Senate and Congress, and one that he is very much expected to sign. It's a bill repealing President Obama's executive order prohibiting internet service providers like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon from selling off your internet history to companies who want to know all your little secrets. And preventing the FCC from ever again being allowed to prevent them from doing so.


Now sure! You may be thinking "Hey! What about my privacy! I pay those companies for my internet service! Should they really be making money off of what I do when I am on there? How is that right?" But that is probably because you love job-killing regulations and don't want companies to be able to make any money off of you. OR because you haven't considered the joys of having even more advertising tailored to your interests! Who doesn't love that? Everyone loves ads and commercials!

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month, the bill's lead sponsor in the Senate, Jeff Flake, explained that he's really doing this for us. Because sure, while we as Americans sort of care about our privacy, that is nothing compared to how much we value our rights to be advertised to.

The new rules also restrict an ISP’s ability to inform customers about innovative and cost-saving product offerings. So much for consumer choice. 

So much for consumer choice indeed! Surely, if we all had a choice, we would be like "Whaaaaaaaaa? Innovative and cost-saving product offerings? Take my internet history PLEASE!" And technically, following the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal, you did have a choice. Because you were still allowed to opt in and offer up your browser history to your ISP if that is what floated your boat. What Jeff Flake, Donald Trump and all the Republicans want is to cut out the pesky middle man and just give you the glorious privilege of letting companies see your search history without you needing to give them permission to do so.

How convenient! Like, for instance, if this were in effect now -- if my ISP noticed that I bought a weird amount of Korean snail-based moisturizing products last night, they could then go "OH, clearly Robyn has some dry skin issues, let's tell a company so they can try and sell her EVEN MORE Korean snail-based moisturizing products." Whether or not I am OK with that. Then, those companies will also know that I spent a lot of time recently researching learned pigs named Toby. What they will do with that information? Up to them!

Detractors, meanwhile, are saying all kinds of silly things like "Hey, what if I don't actually want companies to know about all the time I spend watching Furry porn or the fact that I spent six hours on WebMD trying to figure out if the dry skin around my nose was actually a symptom of lupus?" Probably they wouldn't say such nonsense if only they knew that giving companies that information could lead to fantastic deals on mascot uniforms!

If that isn't exciting enough, the Trump FCC has also put a stay on another job-killing regulation -- the one that requires ISPs to take "reasonable measures" to keep your most private information private. You know, like your social security number and stuff. Just think of all the identity thieves we'll be putting back to work.

Since Republican legislators are giving us so much here, you may be concerned that they're not getting anything back -- other than some sweet, sweet money from lobbyists. But they are! Adam McElhaney, a privacy and net neutrality activist from Tennessee, has decided to return the favor by starting a GoFundMe in order to raise money to buy the internet search history of everyone who worked so hard to pass this bill.

McElhaney writes:

Thanks to the Senate for passing S.J.Res 34 , now your Internet history can be bought.

I plan on purchasing the Internet histories of all legislators, congressmen, executives, and their families and make them easily searchable at searchinternethistory.com.

Everything from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity.

Anything they have looked at, searched for, or visited on the Internet will now be available for everyone to comb through.

Help me raise money to buy the histories of those who took away your right to privacy for just thousands of dollars from telephone and ISPs. Your private data will be bought and sold to marketing companies, law enforcement.

Let's turn the tables. Let's buy THEIR history and make it available.

Surely they will have no problem with this. After all, we could maybe help them find some great deals at party stores if we only knew about their secret balloon sitting fetishes.

[New York Times| The Guardian/| GoFundMe]

You know who hasn't sold your browsing history in ages? Wonkette, because we're ad-free! Join the cause and give us some money, today!

Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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