Protect Our Internet Privacy
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They’ll always know where you are, but it doesn’t stop there. They will know your health concerns, where you bank, and even the humiliating things that you Google search in the middle of the night. Essentially, they have access to your every keystroke, every time that you open your browser. Who are they? Everyone and anyone. Internet privacy is dead, all in the name of “advertising”.
Congress sold us out, but what else is new? Senate Joint Resolution 34 passed through the Senate, the House, and the President this past month. This resolution nullified a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation entitled "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services". You read that correctly: They repealed a rule that protected consumer privacy – my privacy, your privacy, and even their own privacy.
As a result:
- Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can collect your information and sell it without your knowledge and/or consent.
- If your ISP is hacked or breached, you are not legally entitled to a notification.
- If you don’t consent to these new measures, your ISP may reject you service.
Advertisers already source plenty of information to pinpoint their consumers - I know first hand, I work in marketing. If you compared the Internet to a highway, an ISP is your “on-ramp”. Companies like Facebook and Google track what you do on their websites, but this would open the floodgates, as an ISP would track your entire Internet usage. As we move towards an all-digital world and the risks that come with it, we cannot afford to lose Internet privacy.
There is one state that understands how vital Internet security is for their residents after this repeal. Senator Ron Latz of the Minnesota State Senate added an amendment to their economic development budget bill, which passed with a 66-1 bipartisan vote. A similar version was also passed in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Both of these amendments prevent telecommunications or Internet Service Providers from “collecting personal information from a customer resulting from the customer's use …without express written approval from the customer.” Going further, the senate bill prevents the provider from refusing service to you, even if you don’t allow them to sell your information. I am eager to see these same measures from our leaders in Tallahassee.
Since our Florida legislature is already in session, we need at least a similar amendment to ensure our browsing privacy. I am calling upon our Florida Representatives to act. The power to protect citizens is in their hands.
Propose the following amendment on a bill this 2017 session, in order to protect our Internet Privacy:
No telecommunications or internet service provider that has entered into a franchise agreement, right-of-way agreement, or other contract with the state of Florida or a political subdivision, or that uses facilities that are subject to such agreements, even if it is not a party to the agreement, may collect personal information from a customer resulting from the customer's use of the telecommunications or internet service provider without express written approval from the customer. No such telecommunication or internet service
provider shall refuse to provide its services to a customer on the grounds that the customer has not approved collection of the customer's personal information.
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