back to article With net neutrality pretty much dead in the US, your privacy is next

Full of confidence in Ajit Pai – the new boss at the FCC, America's communications watchdog – groups representing US telcos are seeking a repeal of the regulator's privacy rules. Citing the appointment of Pai and the imminent decision to roll back the previous administration's net neutrality protections, industry groups now …

  1. Colin Millar

    But shirley

    "Lobbying group CTIA" won't survive the swamp clearing we have been promised and are eagerly awaiting in an EO coming soon.

  2. chris121254

    net neutrality is not dead yet and many are fighting to keep it

    help protect Net Neutrality you should support groups like ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Press who are fighting to keep Net Neutrality.

    https://www.aclu.org/

    https://www.eff.org/

    https://www.freepress.net/

    also you can set them as your charity on https://smile.amazon.com/

    also write to your House Representative and senators

    http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state

    and the FCC

    https://www.fcc.gov/about/contact

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Net neutrality is dead. Get used to it. The GOP control Congress. Their wet dream is "fuck you, I got mine." They are now in a position to remove the last few pretenses of civility, rights and benefits to anyone who isn't rich... AND THEY WILL.

      1. chris121254

        they wont as long as we fight to stop them and many already are, Net neutrality is not dead

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          " ... as long as we fight to stop them ... "

          Glad of Amendment 2 to the Constitution?

          (Yep, you got me, just +/- vote bait.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hear the same old propaganda year after year. "The GOP are rich and will fuck over anyone who isn't!" Yet GOP politicians are generally much less rich than the Dems, and especially not their super-rich supporters. Further the GOP base are not rich either, and we don't care to hear ignorant twits spouting such propaganda. There may have been a time when the GOP was the richer party, but that time has long passed.

        Net Neutrality was forced on us by Obama. It was not voted into law. Therefore it has no real legitimacy and any supporters who feel they must smear opponents as robber barons also lack legitimacy.

        My stance is that if Obama wanted it so bad, it must be bad for the US in general. At least that's my assumption, given his proven need to sabotage his own country and apologize to the rest of the world for taking so long to do it.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Your lies grow tiresome.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            don't you mean?

            Alternate facts instead of lies?

            Ok, I'll go and sit on the naughty step now.

          2. chris121254

            I find your lack of faith disturbing

            1. brainbone

              RE: lack of faith

              After this nationalist coup d'etat, it'll be tough to have "faith" in anything positive over the next 2 to 4 years.

          3. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Facepalm

            "Your lies grow tiresome."

            Those kinds of comments grow tiresome. And the downvotes from the left-wing howler monkeys, who sling poo instead of providing relevant counterpoints.

            Oh, and upvotes for Big John.

            1. brainbone

              Please, tell me how ending net neutrality will help you.

        2. frank ly Silver badge

          "{executive order X} was forced on us by {The President}. It was not voted into law. Therefore it has no real legitimacy ...."

          An interesting argument.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            >>"{executive order X} was forced on us by {The President}. It was not voted into law. Therefore it has no real legitimacy ...."

            >An interesting argument.

            Indeed it is.

            For years the US has been building up a dictatorship of the ostensibly nice and trendy, which has now been toppled by the decidedly unpleasant.

            US lawmakers have repeatedly abdicated their responsibilities and handed power to the bureaucracy and now we can see the result. And about that "no privacy for non-Americans" thing - are you still happy to trust the cloud?

            It reminds me distinctly of Stalin after Lenin. Totally unintentional, yet totally predictable.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              US lawmakers have repeatedly abdicated their responsibilities and handed power to the bureaucracy and now we can see the result.

              Here's the thing: many "regulations" written by the executive branch could have been written into the actual laws passed. However, that would require senators and representatives to actually work, rather than being paid by the taxpayers to spend most of their time on getting reelected.

        3. netminder

          You could have shortened your post by simply posting:

          "I am a moron who fell for a bunch of propaganda and will be stunned after wer are all fucked over"

      3. asdf Silver badge

        always look on the bright side of life

        >Net neutrality is dead. Get used to it. The GOP control Congress.

        The only good thing to come of this will be a good chance for the Dems to largely be able to do the redistricting next decade. Darth Cheeto (or the stubby fingered piss golem, take your pick) likely isn't going to bring many GOP gains in 2018 or 2020 if for no other reason past precedent. Truly believe there are just enough checks and balances until then to keep the missiles from flying hallelujah hallelujah.

  3. dan1980

    "The FCC privacy framework adopted just last October was a sharp departure from the FTC's innovation-friendly, flexible guidelines that have overseen a successful burgeoning of the Internet."

    Translation: caring about the privacy of our customers eats into our profits and the FCC should care more about ISPs making money than protecting customers.

    Regulations - at least conceptually - act as a limitation on unfettered capitalism. The goal of capitalism is for every person and company to go and make as much money as they can. This is not a bad idea, but the necessary downside of viewing profit as the highest goal is that every other concern is secondary. That's what prioritising one thing over all others means.

    Regulations should be there to force corporations to behave in a more social manner. A purely capitalist factory would, without regulations, simply dump all waste - however toxic - wherever it was cheapest, including into drinking water supplies. This is, clearly, not conducive to the long-term well-being of society.

    Privacy regulations are required because, without being forced, capitalist corporations have no incentive to value the privacy of their customers. It costs them money to do so and potentially prevents them opening new revenue streams from exploiting that data.

    What Doug Brake is saying is that the regulations force them to respect privacy more than they want to and, if they had it their way, they would value customer privacy less. Oh, but they're totally pro-consumer and are just paragons of trust and privacy protection. Uh huh.

    1. The_Idiot

      If I may...

      "The goal of capitalism is for every person and company to go and make as much money as they can."

      Er - that's not capitalism. That's called 'forgery' - unless you're the guv'mint :-).

      If the guv'mint ain't making more (printing it), then for Jane to _have_ more, some John (or Janet or Bill) must have less. The goal of capitalism is, as far as I can tell, for 'some other bugger' to have less - and who said 'other bugger', and the consequences of said 'other bugger' having less don't matter none to the ones having more. Or did I get it wrong? (blush)

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: If I may...

        Thus "as they CAN." If they CAN'T, we'll as they say in America, "Them's the breaks." There are 12 stranded starving islanders but only 6 coconuts. Someone's gotta go.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: If I may...

          >There are 12 stranded starving islanders but only 6 coconuts. Someone's gotta go.

          And "someone" is the group of 11 who weren't born American.

          1. dan1980

            Re: If I may...

            @P.Lee

            Maybe cut each coconut in half.

            But that's silly. No, the most sensible option is for one person to have 11 coconuts and for the other 11 to have just one between them. Surely . . .

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: If I may...

              Then all 12 starve because the scenario is that each needs one WHOLE coconut to last long enough for a ship to come, and they're SO starved that they need to eat NOW to survive that long.

              It's basically a variant on the Cold Equations situation. Either some perishes or ALL perish, with no third option available.

      2. dan1980

        Re: If I may...

        @The_Idiot

        Seems like you're splitting hairs but I suppose a forum of technically-minded people is the right place to do that.

        Replace the word 'money' with 'wealth'. Or, more accurately, with "capital". The point I am making is that the very foundation of the economic theory of capitalism assumes that businesses try to make as much profit as they can. If left un-checked, however, this is unlikely to result in the greatest possible social benefit - and that's understandable because the goal of a company is not social benefit but profit.

        Essentially, I am simply pointing out the constant 'battle' between the interests of businesses and those of society as a whole.

        Businesses will, generally, be more profitable in the short term with as little regulation as possible. This is the laissez-faire model which, roughly translated, means: "just go and do whatever the hell you want".

        One problem with this model is that, as businesses will do whatever makes the most profit, they have no incentive to benefit society as a whole and any benefit that does arrive is really a side-effect. Another problem is that a truly free market - where the government does not interfere at all - can end up destroying one of the foundational assumptions of capitalism: competition. With no restriction or regulations or interference, monopolies can and will arise, reducing competition and thus crippling one of the main reasons capitalism works in the first place.

        To avoid these - and other - problems, modern capitalist economies employ government guidance and manipulation of the market through a variety of means, such as tarrifs and regulations.

        Everyone with any sense agrees that a completely free market is not a good idea for society so the running debate is over exactly how much the government should interfere and in what ways.

        I many ways, this debate is about what is good for society and what we feel is valuable, beyond simple, short-term profit. Protecting the environment falls into this category but so does personal privacy. Society doesn't benefit, economically, be protecting individual privacy, but it is something that many people value as important to them and their well-being. Many consider it a basic right.

        To a business, however, there is very little value in protecting privacy, unless that is their selling point. Unfortunately, free-market capitalism has allowed certain sectors to become all-but monopolised by a handful of huge corporations. In that situation, there is simply no pressure for these large players to protect privacy because there is no competition and thus no natural barrier to them exploiting their customers for financial gain by selling their personal information and certainly no incentive to protect it in the first place.

        Thus, if it is deemed important that privacy is protected by ISPs then the only way to do it is regulation.

        And that's the crux of it - as a society, do we believe it's more important for ISPs to protect our privacy and not sell our details to third-parties* or for those giant ISPs to make a bit more profit?

        And that all depends on the value put on our privacy by our politicians . . .

        * - Or other, unrelated arms of their vast empires.

        1. The_Idiot

          Re: If I may...

          @dan

          Heh - yes, I am indeed splitting hairs (blush). I have so few left myself, I try to spread them as wide as I can (blushes again). And i certainly intended no offense, nor a major disagreement - I just had an 'Oscar Wilde' moment - 'I can resist anything except temptation' :-))).

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: If I may...

          "One problem with this model is that, as businesses will do whatever makes the most profit, they have no incentive to benefit society as a whole and any benefit that does arrive is really a side-effect. Another problem is that a truly free market - where the government does not interfere at all - can end up destroying one of the foundational assumptions of capitalism: competition. With no restriction or regulations or interference, monopolies can and will arise, reducing competition and thus crippling one of the main reasons capitalism works in the first place."

          As far as the monopoly is concerned, though, it's working just fine. In fact, one of the goals of these monopolies is to transcend government and become sovereign unto themselves (think William Gibson's Sprawl) since the best way to beat regulation is to rise above the ability to be regulated. Thus transnational companies that can play sovereign states against each other (why ships don't flag in a first-world nation and why small countries like Ireland seem to get a lot of transnational business because their operating costs--and thus taxes--are low enough to undercut). Even the "nuclear option", denying them business in a country, can be met with a, "Your funeral."

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    Privacy is next?

    Privacy has been gone for decades. Everyone and your mother thinks your personal business is their fucking business.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So what's next?

    A ban on ad blockers? A forced "you will watch and look at ads"? And without any controls on the content including malware? I ask because who is going to buy the consumer's info other then advertisers?

    1. chris121254

      Re: So what's next?

      a ban on ad blockers would be very hard to enforce and would lead to outrage

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: So what's next?

        They can do it ALREADY. Think ad WALLS. They won't let you through until you see the ad. Pretty soon this'll be the norm on the Internet. Then what's you do?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So what's next?

          Perhaps it is time to build a wall on the Internet. One that keeps all US Traffic inside the USA. After all it is America First, Second and Third in the opinion of El Pres. So lets keep all their stuff inside and not let it pollute the rest of the world.

          I know it won't work but it is nice to remember 'I had a dream' and other events before they get painted out of History.

        2. chris121254

          Re: So what's next?

          its unlikely it will become the norm on the Internet because so many people are using ad blockers and ad walls do not work and will lead to outrage if they try that

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So what's next?

          @ Charles Adwalls don't work. I block them and see nothing for 30 secs then the content starts as normal. I got fed up watching trailers (spoilers) for crappy films before viewing tech stuff.

        4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: So what's next?

          What I do is close the browser.

        5. creepy gecko

          Re: So what's next?

          Charles 9 - "Then what's you do?"

          If a website won't let me view its content and demands I turn off my adblocker, then I go elsewhere.

          Why would I turn the adblocker off and allow unwanted adverts and malware through? Advert punters sometimes don't think like us normal folks...

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: So what's next?

            "If a website won't let me view its content and demands I turn off my adblocker, then I go elsewhere.

            Why would I turn the adblocker off and allow unwanted adverts and malware through? Advert punters sometimes don't think like us normal folks..."

            Because it's say a manufacturer's website and thus the ONLY official source for drivers for the hardware you've already plunked down for and can't recoup so it's bend-over time because you can't afford to replace it.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: So what's next?

        when ad blocker usage becomes the norm, the content providers will need to adjust their attitudes.

        similarly, those services that care nothing for our privacy simply need to be avoided. alternatives DO exist. 'duck duck go' for example (in lieu of google or bing). perhaps the TRUE answer isn't to have the FCC act like fascists, but instead to let the private sector 'work it out'.

        Admittedly, existing FTC privacy requirements COULD be altered to correct privacy-related abuses universally. I get regular statements from banks and credit card companies regarding the use of my private information. I always tell them "no".

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: So what's next?

          "alternatives DO exist. 'duck duck go'"

          Duck Duck Go can't produce an alternative manufacturer's website out of thin air. ANY unofficial site WILL be laced with Bad Stuff.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So what's next?

          "Admittedly, existing FTC privacy requirements COULD be altered to correct privacy-related abuses universally. I get regular statements from banks and credit card companies regarding the use of my private information. I always tell them "no"."

          Then they'll just change the statement to "No, I will not deny you access to my personal information." These people know all the tricks, and they'll use psychology to find ways to slip one under the radar. Oh, and since all the other banks know these tricks (honest banks just get bought out by dishonest ones), you're pretty much stuck in a den full of thieves.

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Https

    It's too late for ISPs, if all they see is that stereotypical American connects to Youtube and Facebook how much data can they harvest?

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Https

      or in my case mostly to tor entry nodes.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Https

        Governments likely control or pwn most of the END nodes, meaning they can probably track you anyway. Remember, they took down Silk Road, an Onion site, so it shows what they can do when they REALLY hate you.

  7. Tikimon Silver badge
    Devil

    "For over twenty years, ISPs have protected their SILO OF consumers' data with the strongest anti-competitive policies in the internet ecosystem"

    This Between The Lines translation provided as a free service of Tiki's Paranoid Ranting, LLC.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way too late

    Apparently the entire US population have already been profiled to a worrying degree via Facebook ( including those who don't use FB themselves ).

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/big-data-cambridge-analytica-brexit-trump

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Way too late

      This. Get real people. A month ago, the Washington Post listed just ONE site where they had a whole list if information on people. They did the story because people were using it to stalk other people.

      I looked myself up and was ASTOUNDED to see how much information was gathered on me in just one place, and made available to the public. It was extensive and accurate. This is not even considering facebook, how immediately posts a prospective name on virtually everyone in a photo that I post.

      Privacy is dead... long ago... and most of it happened under Bush/Obama. So stop with the Trump shiite. Short of simply publishing our SS# and Drivers license number, virtually everything else is already out there. There is no privacy.

  9. Trey Pattillo

    <10 stamps

    Send snail-mail to the FCC, FTC and you CongressCritters.

    Be to the point "I am you customer not your FU***NG PRODUCT."

  10. The IT Ghost

    Confused here...

    "ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on earning their customers' trust on privacy."

    So if these providers are so very concerned with privacy - why would they want the regulations requiring privacy to be removed?

    So they can sell all data until we complain, making some bucks in the interim, then stop selling SOME of it to make more money until we complain again, and repeat several times until finally returning more or less to the current system, except we, the customers, get five times the spam, three times the paper-junk, and the telcos have money in the bank...at our expense.

    If they want to earn our trust, that's fine...but until they have *earned* that trust, keep the rules in place - because they certainly haven't EARNED IT YET!

  11. Ilsa Loving
    FAIL

    Trust?

    Lobbying group CTIA has posted similar thoughts, arguing that telcos should be trusted not to flog off customer browsing habits to the highest bidder.

    BRAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH *coughchokewheeze*

    *reads again* BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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