Sunday, April 9, 2017

(The Big Disrupt) The Long Slow Death of Internet Privacy

What do you do online? No, really. What do you do? In addition to the glut of social media we consume, we store and share files, access our banks, fill out forms, buy furniture, and make fun of politicians we don’t like. The reasons for these activities are manifold, but two of the big ones are privacy and anonymity.

Well, the United States just voted to repeal a law that protects that online privacy and anonymity.

If you have not read George Orwell’s book ‘1984’, you may want to pick up a copy so you can brush up on what our future will be like. To sum it up, the government controls everything and is always watching. Even the smallest things are recorded. You can be arrested for ‘thought crime’ which is writing, saying, or alluding to something that the government doesn’t like. Then the whole avalanche of your other transgressions falls upon you as you are shipped off, never to be seen again. But, hey! It’s good for profits right?

Major communication corporations like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are strong proponents of this action because it means they will be able to use any data they have about you freely (BBC). Get ready for more targeted advertising, folks.

“Today Congress proved once again that they care more about the wishes of the corporations that fund their campaigns than they do about the safety and security of their constituents,” said Evan Greer, campaign director from rights group Fight for the Future (FFTF).

Think of this change as allowing your mail or parcel carrier to snoop through your letters and packages in order to figure out what junk mail to send you (WIRED). Or on a deeper level, allowing the government to do the same thing in order to accomplish whatever secret ends they have in mind. All it takes is for one nation to set a precedent in order for others to think it’s okay. It’s the whole idea of your child whining and saying “Billy did it, why can’t I?” There isn’t much sense to the argument, but it gets many ideas pushed through a governing body in the interest of ‘fairness’.

The point here is that citizens, who are supposed to be cared for by their government, are being pushed aside in the interest of profit. It’s easy for major corporations with plenty of money to play off of the rampant fear many governments have regarding terrorism by giving the government what it wants and getting the profit boost they so desire in the process. Why fix the system if it isn’t broken? Let’s keep our internet free and neutral, the way it always has been.

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