Monday, April 3, 2017

GOP Congress Now Has Your Internet Privacy For Sale - What Can You DO?

Unlike in Europe, where governments respect their citizens, our current incarnation sees us mainly as chattel to do with as it pleases, unless our votes are needed. For example, in the EU strict privacy rules apply to protect citizen information. It cant just be bought and sold at the drop of a hat, nor can one - on doing a Google search for a name- find all kinds of options for buying further info, records etc., including address, voting record, bank account balance etc.

Contrast this with the GOP congress which on Tuesday last week voted to overturn privacy rules that previously required telecom companies to get customers' permission before sharing their web browsing and app history use with third parties. And, of course, Trump is also in favor of this - given he respects no citizens, even his own voters (mocking them not long after the election Nov. 8th by saying at a Louisiana rally, "Yeah folks, I just needed your votes, don't need you anymore!")

So no surprise that the White House announced Wednesday that Trump intends to sign the bill. This then would formally undo the rules adopted last fall by the Federal Communications Commission. It will be a boon to Verizon Communications, Inc., Comcast Corp. and A.T. and T. Inc. which are all building huge digital ad businesses.

What sort of information will now be up for grabs and sale to the telecoms? It includes: your full website browsing history - including porno sites, all the apps you use, the TV shows you watch, the stores and restaurants you patronize, the lists of all your Facebook friends, all the news articles they read (as well as you), where they bank and shop - along with their physical location. In other words, it presents a veritable windfall to any sharks wanting to track you or your circle - and target you all for future ads, pop-ups.

Basically, this disgusting congressional action, mainly on the part of the "business party" or GOP,  now gives companies and ad mongers comfort they can profile any customer behavior.  If you, for example, happen to visit some favorite porno site, your frequency of visits will now be tabulated and sent to any porn companies that may find that info useful. The next thing you know you will be receiving scads of porn catalogs in the mail, and likely in email too.

If you read regularly nutso conspiracy tripe from sites like InfoWars and then those tracks will also be peddled to whoever wants them. Basically also, you won't know who gets that information or exactly how they use it.

Is there anything you can do about it? Probably the easiest tactic is to regularly go to "private window browsing". If you have Windows 10, you will be able to spot three tiny dots in the upper right corner of your screen. If you left click on it, you will see two upper options: new window, and new private window.  By selecting the second, you get a search field within which any entries you type will be private, in other words not accessible to the snoops.

What you shouldn't do, if  you value your privacy, is nothing.

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