Internet safety threatened as Trump signs bill that allows companies to buy and sell private information

In Opinion
(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

On April 3, President Donald J. Trump proved once again that he and his administration’s allegiances lie in business and profit, not in the public or their privacy.

Trump signed a bill that essentially allows broadband companies to profit off of selling private information without the permission of users, according to the Hill.

While that bit sounds overly anti-consumer, the sneaky way Trump went about passing the bill indicates he knows his actions aren’t going to pass over too well with the public.

In a recent poll conducted by the Huffington Post, 80 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed replied that they were either very or somewhat concerned with the privacy of their personal information online.

That being said, Trump cleverly used a Congressional Review Act that allowed him to overturn the recently passed regulation by former President Barack Obama that prompted companies to ask for consent to access information. The one thing keeping the dirty paws of internet providers off of the private information of citizens has been erased.

Trump is holding nothing back at this point.

His corporate interest is no secret, but brandishing his anti-consumer agenda by making it law for internet providers to now openly be allowed to share and sell data from users without their permission takes some gall.

“With his quiet signature today, President Trump has signed away the only rules that guarantee Americans a choice in whether or not their sensitive internet information is sold or given away,” said Chris Lewis, vice president at DC-based digital rights group Public Knowledge, in a statement to Vice.

While this motion isn’t as malicious as it sounds, it still encroaches on the privacy that American people value so much while slowly tearing down the already weakened structure of Net Neutrality under the FCC’s new rule.

With the passage of the bill, companies will now be able to sift through the waves that individuals tread when doing whatever it is they might on the interweb.

The reasoning behind this is that companies can now essentially wholesale people as advertisements.

Think of it like this: If someone were to be searching about a specific musician, the internet provider they use will be aware of those searches and also note where you live, since you pay for their service they know that by default.

Then, they sell your information to whoever sells tickets to concerts for that musician and they start showing advertisements on certain sites so you would be tempted to buy a ticket.

The important thing to note in this is that providers aren’t using your name, and that’s the tricky bit. Obviously this sounds suspect and companies like Verizon and Comcast know that. So in order to save face, they have made it clear that they would not be selling personal information, as in address, social security, name or even email.

For some people, that sounds good and they will move on to the next Trump article of the day.

But the providers don’t even need that specific information to sell something. They just need to know what the individual likes or looks up on the internet and they can bank off of that.

It’s kind of telling in that it really puts into law the idea that businesses don’t care who you are, just what you want and how much you will pay for it.

The worst part of this is that there is really no opposing side. There aren’t any other entities that can make waves as big as the Trump administration can, especially since internet providers are businesses and he’s the biggest business man there is.

Right now, the best and only thing to do is stay informed and not look up anything too weird.

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