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Letter: Americans’ privacy is sold to highest bidder

Americans’ privacy is sold to highest bidder

For years, Americans have felt increasingly apprehensive about the amount of time that we spend staring at our screens. But we should feel greater unease knowing that those screens spend just as much time staring back at us, and have greater capacity to store and sort the information gained from the experience than we have.

Privacy rights have been woven into the fabric of our country from its inception, and while many agree to forfeit some privacy in the name of “protection,” we should be shocked that we are now asked to forfeit our values in the name of protecting the hugely profitable telecommunications industry. That is exactly the equation that played out when Republicans in Congress passed a joint resolution to derail Obama-era FCC internet privacy regulations, slated for enactment at the end of March, which restricted the ability of internet service providers to collect and sell consumer data.

Arguments behind the deregulation are laughably thin. The Arizona senator who introduced the bill denounced the regulations as confusing and innovation-stifling. If the senator had merely stood before Congress, and held up a check signed by telecommunications lobbyists with a theatrical wink and nod, his performance would have been less of an affront than the introduction that he actually gave. I am confident that a multibillion-dollar industry can sort out the mechanics of FCC rules requiring transparency and an opt-in to give permission for data collection. I find Republicans’ eagerness to treat Americans as a product for sale to be confusing.

Alison Haseley


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