There’s no small amount of cognitive dissonance involved in typing these four words: “Good job, Mo Brooks.” And yet, Brooks (CD-05) joined with Rep. Terri Sewell (CD-07) yesterday to vote NO on a GOP anti-privacy, pro-telecom bill. Both the Senate and House voted to roll back landmark Obama-era Internet privacy regulations. (Bill numbers were SJ 34 and HB 230) The House vote was close: 205-210. Alabama’s other representatives could have stopped it, but chose instead to protect big telecom & big campaign contributions.
Essentially, they’ve given huge telecom companies carte blanche to collect your Internet browsing history and preferences, package that data, and sell it to advertisers. Campers, be careful what search terms you use because it’s about to be part of your consumer profile.
From a bill analysis at Govtrack.com:
Privacy advocates warn that the legislation could produce dire consequences for consumer privacy, with Privacy News Online calling it “a bill to let telecoms sell your private Internet history.”
“Its goal is to remove all the hard-earned net neutrality regulations gained to protect your internet history from advertisers and and worse,” they wrote. “Specifically, the FCC had been able to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from spying on your internet history, and selling what they gathered, without express permission. This legal protection on your internet history is currently under attack thanks to these 24 Senators and lots of ISP lobbying spending.”
That’s not false, as ISPs have been previously shown to sell user data to third parties, who in turn use it for marketing or other purposes.
Oddly, neither Representative has released a statement about the bill or even mentioned it in passing on their social media feeds. Brooks is busy displaying his tail feathers over his bill to repeal Obamacare (hey, one step forward and a giant jump backwards), while Sewell is busy stalking Trump’s tax returns and Rep. Nunes (you go, girl!).
In any case, for whatever reason, Sewell & Brooks voted to protect consumers and privacy. Too bad Alabama’s remaining representatives and senators chose to stand with big telecoms instead.