back to article 'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules

Faced with an angry citizen asking why he had voted away their online privacy rights, US House Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) had a remarkable answer: you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin on Friday, the Republican legislator was asked about his vote to kill off …

  1. lone_wolf

    term linits

    old geezers that don't understand the nature of eCommerce you have to have internet just to pay your bills with a lot of companies. another argument for term limits.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Senior Moment

      "Nobody's got to use the internet."

      That seems to be the opinion of many people over the age of 70. These are people who didn't make their money using a keyboard.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Senior Moment

        Sorry no.

        It has nothing to do with age. It has to do with a lack of understanding of what and how the internet is used today.

        I wonder if he would understand a hypothetical aerial nuke burst that knocks out all communication that isn't hardened. Do this over San Francisco and you've taken down a chunk of the US infrastructure.

        Then nothing gets done. No air travel, no train, no commerce, not just e-commerce but commerce.

        Then lets see how he reacts.

        Its true, that you only need clean air, clean water, food and shelter to survive.

        But then this country is more than substance survival...

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Senior Moment

          Quote:

          Its true, that you only need clean air, clean water, food and shelter to survive.

          You forgot to add , GUNS, lots of guns and ammo. Gotta fight off those Zombie hordes haven't you?????

          Seriously, this guy needs to be given the same treatment as the latest FreeNas release (El Reg Headline), taken outside, around the back and put out of his obvious delusional state. (not actually advocating it though).

          I hope his opponents at the time of the next election go big on this statement.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            FAIL

            "Seriously, this guy needs to be given the same treatment as the latest FreeNas release"

            Probably a good time to remind US readers that 3 of the 4 US presidents whose term was "cancelled" with a bullet were Republicans.

            1. Moosh
              Coat

              Re: "Seriously, this guy needs to be given the same treatment as the latest FreeNas release"

              Thus proving that Democrats are mindless and violent?

              Worth also noting that one of those Republican presidents was Abraham Lincoln, and that the Democrat who got shot had deep ties to the Mob. I mean, if you're going to be a fucking moron to begin with.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "Seriously, this guy needs to be given the same treatment as the latest FreeNas release"

              "3 of the 4"

              Don't do statistics on small samples.

            3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: John Smith 19

              Please learn your American history. The Republican Party of today is 180 degrees from the Republican Party Lincoln helped to establish. The two parties have swapped the positions of yin and yang. The Republican Party was the party of anti-slavery, progress for the little guy (Homestead Act, for instance) and so on. Its arteries slowly hardened.

          2. Rich 11 Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Senior Moment

            taken outside, around the back and put out of his obvious delusional state. (not actually advocating it though).

            Too late, citizen. No retractions.

            Stand up against the wall, three paces in from your front door. Put your hands behind your head, fingers interlaced. The SWAT team will be with you momentarily.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Senior Moment

              Sure, thing, sir. Owen Bytheway, you know I just contacted my uncle...you know, head of the local FBI office? I hear he's been digging up a serious case of police corruption lately...

        2. VanguardG

          Re: Senior Moment

          Must be his "bunch of tubes" got clogged up. Every time any CongressCritter opens his mouth about technology, every comedian in the world writes it down, because mocking it will be comedy GOLD for months. Clearly, an aide oversimplified explaining the concept, probably because the Congress member could only spare 2 minutes to master complicated concepts.

          He just needs to own up to it..."I voted the way I did because Bobby from Arizona promised to let me use his plane on my next junket to the Bahamas if I did. He has a very nice plane. Computers are just fads, they'll fade away soon and we can all get back to the radio for entertainment."

        3. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Senior Moment

          I wonder if he would understand a hypothetical aerial nuke burst that knocks out all communication that isn't hardened. Do this over San Francisco and you've taken down a chunk of the US infrastructure.

          No, no. Do it over Wisconsin. Better overall EMP coverage, and hopefully with the exception of Sennsenbrenner himself, much less collateral damage.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Senior Moment

            Actually, you want South Dakota. It's the geographic center of the lower 48. Aim a little further north (North Dakota) if you want to get Canada involved, too.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Senior Moment

        That seems to be the opinion of many people over the age of 70. These are people who didn't make their money using a keyboard.

        As a person over 70 currently making a decent living as a developer of internet applications, I object. You are confusing over-70s with idiots, who can be any age.

        This man's an ill-informed fool because he's a politician. Ignorance and bluster are the main qualifications for his job.

        1. cosmogoblin

          Re: Senior Moment

          Hear, hear.

          Judge people on their choices. You don't get to choose your age, race, sex, or intelligence.

          You do choose how informed you are. At the top of the political game, regardless of your intelligence and background, things like information, expertise and education are not in short supply; whether you make use of them is your choice, and choosing to remain ignorant should be the political deadly sin. Shame it's not.

    2. Notas Badoff
      Megaphone

      Re: term limits

      People who use the internet voted for this guy 19 times. I really think it should become a 'thing' for election districts to be shamed by what their representatives do. "Milwaukee doesn't want you to have privacy."

      1. Shannon Jacobs

        Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

        If you [Notas Badoff] aren't American, then you have some excuse for being ignorant of the state of American politics. I suppose the sad thing in that case is that America used to believe anyone could become American, whereas #PresidentTweey was elected largely on the promise to reverse that...

        I don't know how many of his voters use the Internet, but your comment is just a variation of the "...and they don't have to vote for him" argument. The voters' thoughts (and votes) have been rendered irrelevant. The politicians pick their voters first in today's America. Partly by gerrymandering, but increasingly through selective disenfranchisement.

        Term limits would be good, but they wouldn't address the fundamental rot. There is no shortage of useful idiots and worthless tools to plug into the districts as long as the so-called Republicans can control the outcomes of the so-called elections.

        This guy, though terrible, is quite far from the worst of them. I'm biased towards stupidity, so I think Louie Gohmert may be the YUGEst stupid of them all. However he'll have a hard time beating such contenders as that moron who recently said he wasn't working for his voters because he's another fabulously wealthy asshole and he doesn't need their stinking government money. They should be grateful that he's just such a charitable fellow.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

          I thought it was more a case of him asking, "What did we do BEFORE the Internet?" After all, what did Depression-era people do to get by without even electricity or running water at times? Without access to any form of healthcare and so on? These are the kind of people who make Archie Bunker look tame...and consider it a GOOD point.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

          Bullshit on the selective disenfranchisement. The lack of integrity in the voting syustem that allows multiple voting and voting by non-citizens is a far larger issue.

          And the origin of the gerrymandering was the racial quota demands; where certain seats had to be carved out so that black politicians could have majority black constituencies. That would ensure that they would win and there would be non-white politicians in on the gravy train.

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            Is there any reputable evidence - by which I mean, published by people who are willing to attach their real names, their statistical methodology, and their actual results - that shows "multiple voting and voting by non-citizens" is a major issue anywhere in the USA?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

              "Is there any reputable evidence..."

              There's overwhelming evidence to the contrary, if that helps.

            2. VanguardG

              Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

              Is there reputable evidence that there's been "selective disenfranchising"? The districts are redrawn every 10 years, when there's an official census. Whichever party is in power at that time can finagle the lines this way or that way as they choose - sometimes eliminating whole districts over HERE and creating a new one over HERE, stretching and contracting them in whatever manner they opt to use...its not the privilege of just one party. Simple fact - if you can change something every 10 years, do you actually think that, in any way, provides *ANY* advantage for more than may be one election, given the way neighborhoods change drastically in just half that time? What was halfway to a slum can be "gentrified" in only a year or two and suddenly be a hot spot for idiot money, with people moving from the formerly grande area over THERE to the new hotspot, Between 10 and 20 percent of Americans move to another home in another place each year...given the population, that's somewhere between 30 and 60 million every year. After just 2 or 3 years, a district that was once a bastion for this party can become very partisan the other way. After 5 years, just halfway to the next census and next district drawing, the population can shift dramatically...and if the district includes apartment complexes, where people may be there and gone in only a year.

              Thing is, if a district has, for round numbers, 20,000 people in it when its drawn up, five years later it might have 32,000 people and of those, only 5,000 were there five years ago. Any manipulation is outstripped by events so fast there's no point.

          2. DougS Silver badge

            @AC - origin of gerrymandering

            Sorry to disrupt your attempt to make up facts, but the term gerrymandering was coined in 1812, well before there were any "racial quotas", and involved the "Democratic-Republican party" (yes THAT party that both modern republicans and democrats can trace their roots to)

            The solution to gerrymandering is to use computers to draw maximally compact districts around existing borders (i.e. county lines, city limits, etc.) Any complaints about the software having a liberal or conservative bias would be largely mitigated by using the same software in all states so any bias (or bugs) would pretty much even out nationwide. Make it open source by law so anyone who is interested could verify that the boundaries used match what the software dictated.

            Parties in control of their states would never agree to giving up control in 2020 since those in power now know they're likely to still be in power in three short years, so mandate it for 2030. Better late than never.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: @AC - origin of gerrymandering

              "Parties in control of their states would never agree to giving up control in 2020 since those in power now know they're likely to still be in power in three short years, so mandate it for 2030. Better late than never."

              No, because whoever's in power in 2020 will simply make it so there's no way to change it in ten years' time, repeat ad nauseum. And since Congress can make the laws and so on, it's a vicious cycle. Plus NO ONE will ever agree to whatever algorithm is used by a computer to make the districts; they'll ALWAYS find fatal flaws. The only way around it would be a perfect algorithm, and that doesn't exist and can probably be disproven by reductio ad absurdum.

            2. Shannon Jacobs

              Non-partisan redistricting is NOT gonna happen

              Non-partisan redistricting is an amusing idea, but it will never happen. In contrast, improved software has merely made it easier to refine the process to a razor thin edge. The goal is to adjust your districts down to a safe margin while concentrating and wasting as many of the opposition's votes as possible in a minimal number of sacrificial districts.

              If it makes you feel any better, there actually is a reason the Democratic politicians are relatively bad at the redistricting game. Their voters are less "reliable". The so-called Republican voters are extremely consistent from one election to the next, so they can be gerrymandered to a fair thee well. Not just that they always vote for the same party, but that they also vote more consistently.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC - origin of gerrymandering

              What made up facts?

              The point of the video is that the proposed electoral method ALSO solves gerrymandering. Read the comment by the author of that video who states "Multi-member Super District Voting in the House of Representatives would eliminate gerrymandering entirely." I happen to agree that it would work. If you doubt this, then post to the video's comments and engage the discussion directly.

              I think the authors of this research are getting at some very salient fundamental problems in the current implementation of the democratic process within America (and other places as well). It's very important to deal with underlying mechanism these directly. Otherwise it's going to be a continuous game of wackamole. Any change to the current power structure in America to make it more fair is going to be a huge struggle, but it can and should be done. Then things like corruption, under/misrepresented population, a limited antagonistic two-party system, could actually be solved and not just complained about while it continually gets worse.

          3. HausWolf

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            Actually you are wrong on several accounts. Gerrymandering started around 1812, well before any need to address racial bias, or for that matter.. before black people had the right to vote.

            And multiple investigations, including some in your beloved red states have shown multiple voting and non-citizen voting to be a non factor

          4. W4YBO

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            "And the origin of the gerrymandering was the racial quota demands; "

            Hogwash! Started by Elbridge Gerry (Governor of Massachusetts) in 1812, almost fifty years before the American Civil War.

            1. Pedigree-Pete
              WTF?

              Re: Gerrymandering created in 1812 Massachusetts....

              Sady Wiki was only able to comment on US politics and the above seems to be substantiated. Perhaps we called it something else but my European history suggest the UK was doing this at least 100 years before. Rotten boroughs any one? PP

              1. Toni the terrible

                Re: Gerrymandering created in 1812 Massachusetts....

                A Blackadder episode covered rotten boroughs, almost a documentary

          5. pxd

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            "And the origin of the gerrymandering was the racial quota demands . . ."

            No supporting references? I call bullshit. Racist revisionist bullshit, to be more precise. pxd

          6. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            https://youtu.be/A-4dIImaodQ

            John Oliver on gerrymandering.

          7. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            The lack of integrity in the voting syustem that allows multiple voting and voting by non-citizens is a far larger issue.

            A repeatedly proven urban myth where the incidents that did happen were statistically unimportant and mostly committed by GOP supporters.

          8. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            Multiple voting and voting by non-citizens is not a thing. It is 'fake news' aka lies. The percentage of multiple votes etc is so low as to be a non-problem.

            Gerrymandering was never about racial quotas. It began long before the race issue as important in American politics, and was seen when one party flagrantly drew boundaries to include more of its voter base and less of the rival's. As the Black (and now Hispanic) votes became important, gerrymandering in favour of white was and continues to be the practice. As well as the drive of 'voter fraud' (NOT a problem -- vanishingly small) that allows racist states to promote laws that exclude non-whites from voting (and which the courts are now starting to strike down).

            I am happy to supply links to references. I can actually do this, as opposed to you, AC.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

              "I am happy to supply links to references. I can actually do this, as opposed to you, AC."

              Then why haven't they already been provided? And how will those decisions stack up against the new conservative Supreme Court which can easily UNstrike them AND make them the ultimate law barring an Amendment (and hell will freeze before that happens).

          9. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            Bullshit on the selective disenfranchisement. The lack of integrity in the voting syustem that allows multiple voting and voting by non-citizens is a far larger issue.

            Troll! No feed!!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

          "Notas Badoff". Sounds like a stinkin' Ruskie name to me.

        4. Public Citizen

          Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

          The worst of the lot list has to have [Mad] Maxine Waters at or near the top of the list.

          She represents portions of Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California.

          These are areas that can best be characterized as "ghetto", filled with a lot of gullible and under-educated people who keep re-electing Crazy, no matter how insane her rhetoric.

          Another contender would be Diane [Frankenstein] Feinsten, a Bay Area [San Francisco] liberal who is nearly as over the top Looney-Tune as Mad Maxine.

          This guy Jim is just old and beyond his stale date, not even close to being on the Top 10 Crazy List.

          The really frightening thought is that the U.S. Congress has 535 candidates for the list and some of them are trying very hard [mostly without even trying] to get to the top of the list.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            >These are areas that can best be characterized as "ghetto", filled with a lot of gullible and under-educated people who keep re-electing Crazy, no matter how insane his/her rhetoric.

            Replace ghetto with trailer parks and you describe a number of districts in the US south and midwest as well.

          2. VanguardG

            Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            California politicians are so far to the left they almost fall over when they walk. But they're not crazy. Look at the state they represent. They can't be normal human beings and represent a state with Hollywood in it.

          3. Someone Else Silver badge

            @Public Citizen -- Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

            Donnie? Is that you? Please stick to Twatter (it fits you better), and leave this more reputable forum to the grown-ups.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: term limits

        >People who use the internet voted for this guy 19 times.

        More than likely you mean this guy at least once or twice got to hand pick his voters through redistricting. Senators (unlike this guy) at least for the most part tend to be a little less on the asshat partisan side as they tend to have to represent whole states instead of just small enclaves of old angry whites (to be fair some of the mostly minority districts are nearly as bat sh1t crazy as well).

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: term linits

      Now you know why Trump wants to drain the swamp.

      Seriously. No internet, no commerce, food, transportation, etc..

      Your car needs gas. You go to the local gas station. But they are out. Why?

      They can't get an order to their suppliers.

      You need food. But the shelves in the grocery store are bare.

      Air travel? forget about it. There's no private networks anymore.

      But how do you explain that to a guy who's more worried about keeping his flow of 'donations' to his political coffers flowing?

      1. Public Citizen

        Re: term linits

        "Your car needs gas"

        They have the gas in the tanks but they can't get it from the tanks to the nozzle because ~the electrical grid is down - because the internet connected control system is down - so there is no electricity to run the pumps~.

        You explain it to the guy by informing him that all of the donations are made electronically through a system that runs entirely through the internet.

        No Internet = No Bank Transfers = No Donations.

    4. Public Citizen

      Re: term linits

      This Old Phart probably hasn't even paid any of his own utility bills in the last 20 years.

      Without internet access you can't even keep a household running nowadays.

      Lets just have a committee go into his offices and remove everything that got there through some process that involved the use of the internet. My guess is, he would be sitting in an office without a nameplate on the door in the middle of a big empty.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: term linits

      "old geezers that don't understand the nature of eCommerce"

      Another PC idiot to whom ageism is not only the only permissible -ism but apparently mandatory.

      Today on this site you will find the obituary of Bob Taylor.

      Go read it. Read it several times.

      Then reflect that you also, if you're lucky, will be old and by that time, with luck, you may understand the nature of some things; ATM your level of understanding seems questionable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: term linits

        >Another PC idiot to whom ageism is not only the only permissible -ism

        Your generation lost all credibility when you broke overwhelming for the darling of your generation Darth Cheeto. I guess when the lottery is your only chance of a good retirement you will do anything to hold onto all those entitlements you voted for yourselves (prescription drug benefit, etc). By the way might want to avoid the PC dog whistle unless you are speaking only to your generation which you seem to be. My (not millennial btw) generation is damn tired of our parents attitude of son you need to sacrifice so we don't have to when we just want to provide for our kids and not our selfish pig in the python generation parents. They don't seem to give 2 craps about their grandkids future. Don't spend them duckets on schools, keep the Medicare gravy coming.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: term linits

          Don't care much for your parents I guess. They must be so proud to have rised such a caring child.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: term linits

            Wasn't talking about my parents obviously but the generation in general. Mine are largely independent which I am grateful for but still on the government tit like everyone over 65 even though life expectancy is far beyond that now (even with inflation that 1 medicare dollar boomers put in for every three they take out now isn't real sustainable). Funny how the only person in Washington really talking about that is Generation Xer Paul Ryan. Though not a fan personally but is nice to see that most the Generation X Republican leadership isn't completely batsh1t crazy like the Boomers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: term linits

              That is one thing that seems to have lots of bipartisan support whether its the ACA or countless other legislation is that we should have the young many of whom are struggling to get started (not in that boat myself luckily but do see it with the freshouts), subsidize the old who either accumulated significant wealth or should have made better choices and had time to do so.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            entitlements/"term limits"

            Most collecting Social Security and Medicare now paid into it all their working lives, in addition to covering their parents, some that paid little or nothing into the systems that weren't expected having to shell out for such long lifespans. Or, the extreme high costs of preserving reasonably good health for conditions and diseases that were hopeless and terminal when the systems were designed. That said, this diversion has nothing to do with term limits,gerrymandering or internet privacy. Oh how far the acceptability of diversionary techniques in political discussion have come. Perhaps,just perhaps,that can be blamed on the machine gun pace of alternative thoughts are presented through the internet. It certainly explains a lot about current US, Brexit(?), Russian, much of Middle East, et al politics. Not that progress will or can be changed. Unless of course the upcoming near infinite junk mail, spam, mall ware, advertising, porn, political trash, fake news, blather... turns the world off to it. Revealing my age, I remember when I could actually do meaningful, documented research as a private person.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: term linits

          Also I will admit Hillary was also a terrible terrible candidate but that is what you get with Boomer leadership nothing but bad choices, whether its collapsing the economy through deregulation or starting unnecessary wars for fun and profit. Got to make a million doesn't matter who suffers or dies.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: term linits

            I did want to take a minute to congratulate Boomers on their biggest accomplishment to the arts which was disco music (sorry Beatles born before end of war, different generation) that and bringing the greed is good 1980s BMW into style.

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              @moron -- Re: term linits

              I did want to take a minute to congratulate Boomers on their biggest accomplishment to the arts which was disco music (sorry Beatles born before end of war, different generation) that and bringing the greed is good 1980s BMW into style.

              Sorry to burst your ageism bubble, but both Disco and the Greed is Good meme (which by the way, there was no such thing as a 'meme' back then) were brought to you by the Me! Generation, otherwise known as Gen X.

    6. boltar Silver badge

      Re: term linits

      "old geezers that don't understand the nature of eCommerce you have to have internet just to pay your bills with a lot of companies. another argument for term limits."

      Just out of curiosity, which companies? All my utilities I pay by direct debit but their is the option of a cheque in the post.

      Strictly speaking he is correct - you don't *have* to use the internet, and billions of people in the 3rd world don't or can't. But in a 21st century western country it would be rather perverse not to and you'd have to go out of your way to try and avoid it tbh.

    7. Kurt Meyer

      Re: term linits

      @ lone_wolf

      "another argument for term limits"

      There are many arguments for term limits, here is the argument against:

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      Please don't think that you, or anyone else, can tell me who I may, or may not, vote for.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: term linits

        Kurt, Term limits would not tell you who you could/could not vote for, but rather they would limit who could run. Running for office is not speech. [Free] Speech applies while running, but not the actual submission/nomination.

        Saying that term limits impinges on free speech is akin to saying that having to file honest and complete tax forms is a violation of free speech.

        1. Kurt Meyer

          Re: term linits

          @ Swarthy

          "Running for office is not speech."

          Thanks for the laugh.

          "Saying that term limits impinges on free speech is akin to saying that having to file honest and complete tax forms is a violation of free speech."

          Thanks for the even bigger laugh.

      2. TomG

        Re: term linits

        As a person with more than a few years experience working elections I can tell you that you definitely have the right to, and can vote for anyone you care to vote for. Your vote probably may not(and won't) count. You may be surprised how many votes Mickey Mouse gets in Presidential elections.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: term linits

          You may be surprised how many votes Mickey Mouse gets in Presidential elections.

          Mickey doesn't get nearly enough votes.

          Me, if I were to vote for a rodent, I'd vote for Pinky.

          Oh. Wait. <looks at Prez #43.> I can't vote for Pinky, he's already had two terms in office.

          <exit, stage right, singing the theme to 'Pinky & the Brain'>

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: term linits

            I see that the Brain, a.k.a. the French Texan, Richard Bruce Cheney, reads El Reg and has downvoted me. Bite me, imitation Frenchman, so much worse than the real thing.

            <gets out his old Pinky & the Brain DVD and starts re-watching.

            "Before each night is done

            Their plan will be unfurled

            By the dawning of the sun

            They'll take over the world."> They sure 'nuff had a damn good try...

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        @Kurt Meyer -- Re: term linits

        Too bad you didn't bother the rest of the rest of that same Constitution you claim to be so proud of. You might have (accidentally?) stumbled upon the 22nd Amendment, or for that matter, Article II, both of which actually do tell you who you may or may not vote for. So go fix yourself a nice warm bowl of STFU, get a pair of reading glasses, and learn something. You might like the change.

  2. Herby Silver badge

    Privacy in wire communications??

    Please tell the congressman that the equivalent would be a telephone company using speech recognition on telephone conversations and selling people (advertising scum) what keywords you use in everyday life.

    That is what browsing history is after all.

    He needs to get a clue

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Privacy in wire communications??

      It's a crazy thing for the ISPs to do this.

      For every idiotic intrusion there's a plug-in to help. I've heard that there's one that simply generates a background level of traffic to drown out one's actual browsing. That reduces the value of ad cues the ISPs can get.

      More dangerously for the ISP such a plug in could be engineered to generate entirely false ad cues. That won't look too good to their advertising customers...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Privacy in wire communications??

        "That reduces the value of ad cues the ISPs can get."

        The better plug-ins simply cut out the advertising altogether.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Privacy in wire communications??

          But then the ad people will know you're cutting them out of the loop. Next thing you know you end up with ad gates.

          The problem with chaff plugins is that not everyone has the bandwidth to product sufficient chaff to cover their tracks, plus the servers can probably run machine learning to winnow out the chaff, be it computer- or human-generated.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Privacy in wire communications??

      Seeing as people are not communicating with their ISP for all their traffic, how can this be anything other than wire-tapping?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it.'

    WTF... You think you or me could get a cozy job in power making dumb statements like that? (The corporations he lobbies for probably love him too)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 'you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it.'

      He may have just cost a lot of companies and government depts a lot of money.

      Anybody who now insists that forms/reports/filings must be available by post or that help lines must be provided has just got a very good precedent.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: 'you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it.'

      It's been said the we in the States have the best government that money can buy.

      Icon: checking for spare change to see if I have enough to buy a Congresscritter.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: 'you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it.'

        http://www.theonion.com/article/american-people-hire-high-powered-lobbyist-to-push-18204

      2. VanguardG
        Facepalm

        Re: 'you don't have to use the internet if you don't like it.'

        If this is the best we can buy, we really need a bigger budget.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Just wondering...

    Wasn't voting often done in an electronic way, which included using the Internet to share the results? Interesting...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Just wondering...

      Yes, but if Sensenbrenner and his ilk had their way, the voting would be secret, and no results would be bandied about to the hoi-polloi. It would just come down like an edict from $DEITY

  5. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    That's not an option.

    The bulk of employers require you to go online to fill out an application, so no internet means no job.

    There are many government services that either have no open public offices or so few of them that visiting in person is a near impossibility for anyone that doesn't live in the same town, yet they have a website to gather the bulk of the interactions from citizens.

    You can file your taxes entirely online, get them processed, have your payment made or refund received straight from/to your online bank account, & never have to see a tax preparer, auditor, or tax agency official.

    You can renew your driver's license online without ever visiting a department of motor vehicles office.

    You can make doctor appointments online & verify that you're sitting in the waiting room to be seen, entirely from an online portal.

    You apply for many services entirely online & only need to sign the eventual form they mail to you to make it all official.

    Students are more & more being required to submit their homework online, to get their coursework via online channels, & do virtual round table sessions with teachers+class.

    They are given school issued laptops/tablets that have to connect online to grab data from various educational sites/services, to sync official encyclopedia entries, to pull historical data from university digital libraries, and all manner of online only resources.

    People telecommute to work so they can work from places other than at their desk, a requirement for any field technician that has to use a laptop/tablet to go online, visit the corporate servers, pull down a company document/file required to fix the client's broken stuff, & then rush off to the next crisis.

    Not use the internet? Sure, and we'll just stop interacting with all those clueless politicians that think the internet is an option.

    This politician is so far out of reality that he should be unplugged entirely from the internet: no going online via computer, cellphone, tablet, or any other means. No paying bills online, no online banking, no shopping online, no doing any research for anything, absolutely no internet at all.

    And no getting a peon to do it for him.

    I doubt he'd last thirty days before he turned into a gibbering puddle of drool because he couldn't interact with anyone that wasn't right up in his face - you can't use that VOIP client to call, can't use Skype to video call, can't send your plebs email, can't get email from your political masters, can't check the polls to find out just how far into the toilet you've fallen & are still scrambling to dig deeper.

    You sir, are a fucking moron.

    1. vir

      Re: That's not an option.

      VoIP? Skype? You give the man too much credit, sir.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: That's not an option.

      This politician is so far out of reality that he should be unplugged entirely from the internet: no going online via computer, cellphone, tablet, or any other means. No paying bills online, no online banking, no shopping online, no doing any research for anything, absolutely no internet at all.

      And no getting a peon to do it for him.

      Your peon statement explains it all... he and others of his ilk have peons. The ones in power don't need no stinkin' internet. Which makes me wonder where they get their porn?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: That's not an option.

        They don't use porn. When the urge gets too much, they might use a prostitute, but mostly they just repress.

        Think how much time they save that way. This also explains a lot of why they don't see why people get so worked up about online privacy.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: That's not an option.

        Which makes me wonder where they get their porn?

        Their aides send them dick pics.

      3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: That's not an option.

        "The ones in power don't need no stinkin' internet. Which makes me wonder where they get their porn?"

        They can afford to pay for the almost real thing.

    3. Toni the terrible

      Re: That's not an option.

      Just ignorant, no evidence that he is doing anything sexual to morons. It does make you wonder why anyone votes for him though - as he surely has not kept up with what his constituents actually do or want.

  6. Sandtitz Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "Of course, that's not how the sale of users' personal information works: companies very rarely provide individual user files."

    If the price is right and no laws are violated - all the senators' viewing habits are very much for sale. This if the U.S we're talking about here!

    Of course I wouldn't be surprised if they'll next sign a law prohibiting selling federal elected officials' browsing data...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It will be a small paragraph buried at the bottom of some huge bill... Which they do a lot of, and also mask with such things as "A corporation, incorporated in the city of San Francisco on June 5, 2000, at 6.23pm shall be except from.....(fill in the blank)".

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Scrutiny

      Of course I wouldn't be surprised if they'll next sign a law prohibiting selling federal elected officials' browsing data...

      It's not like some other countries haven't exempted politicians from the same scrutiny as other citizens, though that's something you might think only to expect in dictatorships and blatantly corrupt jurisdictions.

      But on the plus side, dear Nigel is going to lose his protection in a couple of years' time.

  7. Blank Reg

    Another idiot republican politician

    Do you have to be a complete moron to run as a republican or do they just learn on the job?

    1. kitekrazy

      Re: Another idiot republican politician

      You got it wrong. The is no party bias when politician and idiot are in the same sentence. Ever heard the comment about voting to know what's in it.

      Term limits!

    2. Pedigree-Pete
      Pint

      Re: Another idiot republican politician

      @ BlankReg. I suspect they are taught it by their predecessors. PP

  8. chasil

    Tor

    You can also just choose to use Tor.

    http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/tor-security-android-and-desktop-linux

  9. hellwig Silver badge

    Bias Much?

    "Of course, that's not how the sale of users' personal information works: companies very rarely provide individual user files."

    In general, Facebook and Google don't sell an individual users details because no one wants to pay for that. It's a lot easier to generalize user data and sell in en-masse to advertisers.

    But, assuming you aren't an advertiser and don't want the details of 1-billion users, but are instead an independent agent and seek solely to discredit one blow-hard senator, you most certainly CAN buy his individual records. Because again, there's now nothing illegal in doing so.

    I read somewhere that your Facebook details are worth (when averaged out over Facebook revenue) about $15 a year. So, if you, as a user, are only worth $15, it's not worth Facebook's time/energy to serve up ads targeted directly to you (i.e. no advertiser is going to film a commercial where they call out your name and your likes/dislikes, etc..). However, if someone went to Comcast and said "Give me Senator Dickbag's internet history, here's $500k", why wouldn't Comcast do that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bias Much?

      "In general, Facebook and Google don't sell an individual users details because no one wants to pay for that."

      Facebook and Twitter's first generation data services were exactly this. Fine grained, cleansed, matched content at the individual user/post level fed right into your servers. Plenty of people paid for it. The problem is it costs a fortune to scale and turns your (data) customers into your competitors, because the data are only valuable in an advertising context (or, you know, fraud).

      It is much more cost-effective to sell aggregated datasets and advertising services rather than the raw data, which has the happy coincidence of ensuring you're the only one making money from the data itself.

      Google never made this mistake.

    2. M Mouse

      Re: Bias Much?

      I think I would start a $ 10,000 and work up, in $ 5,000, until an ISP got bored with one offer a week, and told me how much they wanted.

      Of course, the best target would be the family home because the likelihood is that someone will tip off the politician, and they will soon see that their whole family are under scrutiny, not like it, and perhaps after a family argument over what may be revealed, understand why privacy needs protecting!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bias Much?

      In an electronic world I don't imagine it takes alot of time or energy to serve up ads directly to you. For me this is only going to go one way.

      Smart Billboards that use facial recognition to profile you and your confirmed interests, and when you are seen glancing in the billboards direction, YOU, might get a nice personal offer on something (say $15 off) that you were known to be looking at in the last few days IF you visit the shop in the mall in the next 30 minutes. We have been expecting you.

  10. EveryTime Silver badge

    Al Gore never said he invented the Internet. He accurately said that he was instrumental in funding the development of the Internet. Everything else was just political, changing the actual statement.

    I've been reliant on the Internet for professional interaction since 1983, The Internet could easily have faded away if the U.S. government hadn't consistently provided funding. The 'walled garden' and 'walled jungle/ghetto/desert' models would have been the only option (Compuserve, AOL, bitnet, BBSes). Gore was an important element at the political/funding level.

    This guy, on the other hand, just said that you don't have to use the Internet. With lots of people around, and it was not a mis-quote.

    (I consider 'using other people to use the Internet for you' as being the same as using the Internet yourself. Just like being driven by a taxi still counts as using the roads.)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I think allowing commercial use of the internet may have been significant in its growth

  11. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "long on bluster, short on thought"

    That describes virtually all of our national elected officials...and probably yours, too.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In other news

    Morons are complaining they don't like being associated with US senators.

  13. chuckufarley
    Alert

    I think what he was trying to say...

    ... was "Let them eat cake!"

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I think what he was trying to say...

      But wasn't that cake a lie?

  14. ZenCoder
    Big Brother

    You can same the same thing about toilet paper.

    You don't NEED internet privacy and you don't NEED toilet paper but when you are deprived of either eventually things tend to get real nasty real quick.

    How many years has it been since a president used national security as an excuse to unjustly persecute detractors?

    Your answer may vary based on confirmation bias and political leanings but can we at least agree that it's not been long enough?

  15. Sureo
    Happy

    Time to cut the cord and move to the wilderness.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it's not. It's time to flood Senator Idiot's email/Twitter/Facebook feeds with junk. A constant din of useless junk. Just like his silly notion that no one should use the Internet, let's agree to disagree, and also, flood his presence off the Internet, or at least DOS it back to the stone ages, where his ideas emanate from. This is someone who does not understand, and should not be connecting to, the rest of the modern world. Is there any other option? No. Sit down and shut up, grandpa! Just wait to die in peace, you old fruit!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        What if he really doesn't use any of that stuff? It'd be nothing more than noise to him. I know I don't use Twitter or Facebook.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        No you simply report all corporations that report price sensitive news on twitter/website to the SEC and insist that the senator's ruling means that they have to announce all information to non-internet users simultaneously

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "No you simply report all corporations that report price sensitive news on twitter/website to the SEC and insist that the senator's ruling means that they have to announce all information to non-internet users simultaneously"

          They respond, "We already do. That's what television is for. And if breaking news goes out over the big broadcasters, it should get nationwide coverage lickety split."

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "Time to cut the cord and move to the wilderness."

      Then the spy satellites will get you. And they can operate outside the visual spectrum, too.

  16. inmypjs Silver badge

    "He went on to praise...

    broadband providers because they had "invested an awful lot of money" in building up networks."

    and in funding him no doubt.

  17. Number6

    I think there should be full disclosure of tax returns and lobby meetings for members of congress. After all, one doesn't have to stand for election.

    Full transcripts of all their phone calls too, it's not necessary to use a phone either.

  18. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Congress Critters

    As one Speaker of the House Thomas "Czar" Reed noted most Congress critters have an innate ability to subtract from the 'sum total of human knowledge' every time they open their pie holes for any purpose.

    Remember the source is a Congress critter aka a moron.

  19. Brian Miller

    Related to RFC 1149 - IP over punch cards?

    Maybe Sensenbrenner's last real exposure to computers came during the days of punch cards. Sure, nobody had to use them, but they sure did. Want to make a phone call outside of your house? Better have a cell phone, because pay phones are very few and far between.

    I bet Sensenbrenner really doesn't have to use the Internet, because he has his staff do it for him.

  20. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Nobody's got to use the internet."

    Nobody's got to accept bribes either, right?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "Nobody's got to use the internet."

      Ever heard of "an offer you can't refuse"?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "Nobody's got to use the internet."

        Ever heard of "an offer you can't refuse"?

        Yep. I've had several made and am yet to accept one. I also miss all "can't miss" and "must watch" tv shows, I usually miss "sale you cannot afford to miss" (usually because I cannot afford to go!) as well, just for the fun of it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "Nobody's got to use the internet."

          "Offers you can't refuse" tend to have more force and therefore are much more serious. Think "The Godfather" kinds of offers. In this case, most politicians toe the line because the political machine can easily be turned against them if they so much as peep the idea of compromise (which in today's circles is a filthier word than the F-word). Next thing they know, they won't even survive the next primary.

  21. doug_bostrom

    Totalitarian commerce is our ideology, for lack of anything better.

  22. JustNiz

    I'd be prepared to bet money that he still uses fax to communicate and pays all his bills by mailing personal checks, and couldn't figure out how to send an email if his life depended on it.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Step 1: Feed out the rope

    Step 2: Wait

    Step 3: Pull, hard

  24. itzman
    Devil

    if i didnt use the internet

    I would never have known what this guy said or looked like.

    Maybe he has a point.

  25. RichardEM

    When is he up for reelection? Lets support his Democratic opponent!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and here we see the (danger) inherent in the system

      what's the fallout of a Media that carries forth stories from one party only and simply doesnt report on the idiodicies of the other? that it's "harmless" to have late night comedians only spam political opinion from one side and media outlets deciding other party gaffes are "not news"?

      you get people making statements like above. Modifying the electorate. Promotion of one political entity over another.

      Not harmless at all.

  26. Andromeda451

    pasture

    He needs to retire. He has lost the capability to exist w/o support staff.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gerrymandering can be solved with a proper electoral method:

    https://youtu.be/v9jXrUzLOtA

    And congressional corruption can be solved in this manner.

    https://youtu.be/1gEz__sMVaY

    https://youtu.be/IVfzvhRhmgI

    Not too many people are aware that transparent voting within congress mostly just benefits those with power and money. You can have transparency elsewhere but when it comes to voting, or even legislative negotiation/consultation, it's best to keep the lobbyists at bay. When it comes just to voting, then it's best to keep everyone, (including your own party) at bay. Power brokers and lobbyists rapidly lose their ability to intimidate and buy votes (in various ways). You also have trouble introducing torpedo amendments/legislation. Congress is a mess of disfunction and it can be solved. When people only have their conscience left to vote with, and no lobbyists are basically writing to legislation in confusing ways (meant to confuse the uninformed and introduce complicated loop holes), then legislation has a chance to become clearer and fairer.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But you'll NEVER get rid of lobbyists. Every time you try to outlaw them, they'll just find ways around them. For example, how do you deal with lobbyists when they hire a congressperson's spouse, sibling, or child? Now you've created a dilemma, as families are expected to communicate with each other in order to stay functional, and the lobbyists are exploiting this to make it impossible to get away from them completely. They can also employ "sister-of-a-friend-of-a-friend" methods to conceal bribes and their sources. It's basically like a siege: the attacker tends to have the advantage over time, and they can eventually reach "an offer you can't refuse" levels.

  28. Obie

    Actually, most city and state governments consider online document publishing to be legally sufficient for public notice. So, if you don't "have to use the Internet" then all those governments are falling way short of their legal obligations...

  29. astounded1

    And, If You Don't Like Dirty Air...

    This guy - look at him - won't be around much longer and I mean literally. That said, his logic can be extended to a variety of issues:

    If you don't like dirty air, don't breathe.

    If you want to combat global warming, build more air conditioning.

    If you want to be left behind in this modern world, don't use the Internet.

    It makes total sense coming from a real visionary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And, If You Don't Like Dirty Air...

      More like the following:

      If you don't like dirty air, move elsewhere.

      If you don't like global warming, stop using greenhouse-inducing products like cars. You have two legs. Walk.

  30. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Isn't he the same guy...

    ...who was one of the original sponsors of the PATRIOT Act? So, this might just be that rare case where one should attribute his voting pattern to malice rather than stupidity.

    1. jamesb2147

      Re: Isn't he the same guy...

      Glad somebody else noted this, even if it took 120+ comments.

      He was, to be fair, also the guy who got up and said he never envisioned it being interpreted by the government the way that it has. (Note: I am not defending the PATRIOT Act, which should die in a fire.)

  31. Public Citizen
    Unhappy

    MY tax dollars at work.

    OK Jimmie Boy.

    We'll start a demonstration project on that by stripping you and your entire staff of any internet access, including via smartphone, for ~anything~ relating to the performance of your job as a Congresscritter.

    Since the rest of the government functions with the assumption that the internet is a principal means of information sharing and transfer then you can expect yourself to be cut out of the loop on important communications and to even loose most of your committee appointments, except for your Chairmanship of the newly formed committee for Obsolete Technology and Get Off Of My Lawn.

    The project will run until you either capitulate and admit that you are speaking out of the orifice on the elimination end of your alimentary canal or the end of the late summer recess for the congress.

    BTW, be prepared for a majority of your staff to find a job in the real world of the 21st century while this is going on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MY tax dollars at work.

      He'll respond, "I still have the telephone, and the Capitol still uses couriers since the most important stuff, by procedure, has to be in writing or requires a physical presence. Ever heard of the Quorum rules?

      As for my staff, where will they find jobs in this day and age other than with me?"

      1. Public Citizen

        Re: MY tax dollars at work.

        But the Courier Service is dependent upon the Internet at various levels in order to function, so, the system breaks at that level.

        Also, portions of the phone system are VOIP so that section of the phone system disappears, which likely includes the link between the Congresscritters D.C. office and his home district office[s].

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: MY tax dollars at work.

          "But the Courier Service is dependent upon the Internet at various levels in order to function, so, the system breaks at that level."

          Oh? How did they operate BEFORE the Internet? And why can't they just go back to it?

          "Also, portions of the phone system are VOIP so that section of the phone system disappears, which likely includes the link between the Congresscritters D.C. office and his home district office[s]."

          Again, what's stopping taking a step BACK if necessary? It's like with cars. You have two legs. WALK.

  32. bobajob12
    FAIL

    It's not his age that's the problem

    I would like to point out that Sensenbrenner was born in June 1943. As was one Vinton Cerf. So it's clearly not the case that 73-year-olds can't grok computers.

    I conclude that Sensenbrenner is simply an idiot, an affliction that can strike at any age.

  33. mbee

    The congressman may be all the writer of this piece claims but the congressman is correct,nobody actually has to use the internet, it simply is a convenience way to do things.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      mbee

      Factually wrong. As the previous comments have already noted, in the US as elsewhere the internet is now mandatory for anything beyond bare survival. Job applications , official communications, bill paying are pretty much all online. And I assume university assignments, course revision and kids' homework too ( as my kids' stuff is in the UK).

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Is that like; if you don't like the way the police abuse you when you call them out you don't have to call them out?

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Yes, I believe you can also live without electric power, water supply from the local aqueduct, antibiotics, etc. etc. For how long, that's another matter...

  34. Zorg

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

    We had the last eight years of the left wing screwing us at every turn. The list is too long. to post. So we vote in the right wing and they pull this crap along with forcing us to give our DNA to the insurance companies to help us with "wellness".

    All I can say is I'm stunned. Really speechless.

  35. kmac499

    Vocabulary Addition

    To all our US friends..

    I'm not sure if the term has crossed the pond, but a British expletive noun to describe such a towering intellect as your elected official is "Fuckwit".

    It manages to combine scorn, assesment of aptitude, measure of competence and dismissive insult in one word.

    ( I believe it originated in Australasia, a people expert in the well crafted insult.)

  36. Big_Boomer

    Land of the Free?

    <pmsl>

  37. Archtech Silver badge

    Editor strikes

    "The FCC acknowledges that around 75 per cent of US consumers do not have more than one choice of high-speed internet provider..."

    The FCC acknowledges that around 75 per cent of US consumers do not have a choice of high-speed internet provider...

    FTFY.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Editor strikes

      So how many have ONE and how many have ZERO ISP choices?

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Editor strikes

      No, the original quote was accurate. Hobson's Choice is still a choice. It may not be a palatable choice, and you may have circumstances that make it a non-choice, but you are still offered a choice.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Editor strikes

        What I'm asking is how many of those communities couldn't pick an ISP even if they wanted to because they had NO coverage AT ALL?

        1. Swarthy Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Editor strikes

          That is a different question. I was replying to Archtech correcting TFA; I was agreeing with you, in that there is a difference between one and zero ISP choices. One is a Hobson's Choice, Zero is a lack of choice.

          And I know that the dead spaces exist, as I have family in one; not even 4G connectivity - satellite, or nothing.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Editor strikes

            Not sure that's a valid distinction.

            Total lack of access is no choice.Hobson's choice is take it or leave it. Which still might not be a choice.

            In the original story Hobson's horses were all as good as each other, so he offered a choice of one. But if the eponymous' inn keeper had some terrible broken nags the story would have been different.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Editor strikes

              The reason Hobson made his offer like that was that his clients tended to have favorites, and he wanted to keep rotating his horses to keep the condition of his horses balanced.

  38. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Devils advocate again

    El reg admits in the article that you dont really have to use the net. As long as other people do to keep civilisation running.

    All the above comments are about how useful and ingrained the net is , so has anyone considered the other option?

    Option B - use the net even though ISPs are selling your information.

    Yes its bad , its not like the US has banned the net is it?

    Maybe theres money to be made running a VPN that guarantees not to sell your info?

  39. Potemkine Silver badge

    there's no point for democracy when ignorance is celebrated

    Most worrying, that guy has been elected and will be probably again, and that tells a lot about the intellectual capacities of his voters.

  40. MJI Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Nobody has to

    not whack the idiot in the face with a cricket bat

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is Harold Bishop pretending to be a politician?

    He should have stuck to being on Neighbours.

  42. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Big difference."

    A difference without a distinction.

  43. -martin-

    I think EVERYONE should run a web crawler! How much fun would that for the dickheads to sift through!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      The ISPs would then have a field day. Consider the OVERAGE charges...

      PS. Learned this when I played around with YaCy. The big problem with decentralized ANYTHING is that this causes EVERYONE to use up their bandwidth, which to many is precious, little, and charged heavily.

  44. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Just yet another thicko Republican.

    1. Toni the terrible

      Just another thicko politician - FTFY

  45. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Putting The 'T' In ReTardlican

    If you too have an idiot for a US Congresshuman, send them this link to the US Constitution's Bill of Rights:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

    Direct them to the Fourth Amendment which states:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Yes, this refers to ALL citizen's persons, houses, papers and effects including those on the Internet.

    Oh and this statement is not exactly correct:

    'He went on to praise broadband providers because they had "invested an awful lot of money" in building up networks'

    What actually happened is:

    (A) Honest broadband providers invested an awful lot of money and then cashed in from the resulting customer commerce.

    (B) Dishonest broadband providers invested an awful lot of money but demanded more from the government to continue building broadband infrastructure. And so they were by way of being allowed to add a fee to customer bills. Except these dishonest broadband providers ate that fee and never used it to build further broadband infrastructure. Seeing as said government was puppeted by these dishonest broadband providers, they never demanded the money be returned to the customers. This is known as a 'crime'.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Putting The 'T' In ReTardlican

      Please note the weasel word "reasonable". What's reasonable against a permanent existential threat?

  46. fpx
    Boffin

    Gilmore vs. Gonzales

    There's a precedent in the decade-old decision in Gilmore vs. Gonzales, where the requirement for mandatory identification in air travel was challenged. Among other things, the government asserted that showing identification was no undue burden because you always had the option to use other means of transportation if you preferred to travel anonymously.

    "The Supreme Court has long recognized that the nature of our Federal Union and our constitutional concepts require that all citizens be free to travel uninhibited by regulations which unreasonably burden this movement. However, burdens on a single mode of transportation do not implicate the right to interstate travel."

    See https://papersplease.org/gilmore/

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

      But did they consider international travel, especially transoceanic travel for which there is ONLY ONE practical option? Heck, what if you're just doing a San Francisco-to-Honolulu flight? That's transoceanic but domestic.

      1. Toni the terrible
        Devil

        Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

        You can always go by boat...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

          "You can always go by boat..."

          As another commenter noted, that will take a week at least, which makes it IMpractical.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

      Yes, also government letting business doing whatever they like ends in thing like violently removing a traveler from a plane because the contract between the airline and the paying customer is totally unbalanced - and of course no rules means more competition and better service, right?

      Often Americans deserve the treatment they get from their companies... keep on believing any regulation is bad.... and remember it when you're being thrown off an airplane or the like...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

        "Often Americans deserve the treatment they get from their companies... keep on believing any regulation is bad.... and remember it when you're being thrown off an airplane or the like..."

        To which they respond, "Well, if regulation is so good, explain the TSA."

        Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "Well, if regulation is so good, explain the TSA."

          Is the TSA regulated? It looks to me they are allowed to do whatever they like, however they like - up to violating the US Constitution.

          Anyway, nobody denies there are bad (and often very bad) regulations. And sometimes too much regulations. Just, absence - or almost - of any regulation - dreaming "companies will self-regulated and customers will benefit of that" - is usually no better, especially when the "contracting power" is on one side only.

          Human greed will most of the time take precedence, especially when competition is limited (but often setting up cartels is quite easy even when the players are not few).

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "Well, if regulation is so good, explain the TSA."

            Most would say the TSA are being regulated to be jerks.

            The biggest fear is that the medium is UNhappy: stifled simultaneously by the government on one side and by greedy private enterprises on the other, with no hope for escape.

      2. VanguardG

        Re: Gilmore vs. Gonzales

        Since it was "police officers" involved, LDS, I'm fairly sure "regulations" were already in place. Passengers have been so totally cowed that not a single person did anything more than film this dragging incident and make a few weak verbal protests. Nobody called out the gate agent who called in the goon squad, or the Captain who failed to maintain control of his or her aircraft.

        How many abuses did it take before the government finally REGULATED how long airlines could keep passengers effectively imprisoned on an aircraft sitting on the ground? That went on for YEARS before there was finally a regulation passed that allows for "only" three hours. Which is still far too long. It works, sort of...but it takes far too long to go into effect and is totally without teeth when it does! Say Airline A violates the three hour rule. Like Continental/Expressjet/Mesaba did, with nearly six hour of delay. DoT fined them $175,000 between them. Did the *passengers* see a penny? Of course not!! They just PAID MORE for future tickets since the airlines jacked up the prices to offset the penalty! DOT got some money, Airlines went on business as usual, and the passengers got absolutely NOTHING whatsoever.

        Imagine if Delta Airlines suddenly re-wrote their carriage contract to prohibit involuntary removal (except in cases where a passenger is disruptive to other passengers or crew). Do you not think every other airline would have to follow suit? Of course they would. No regulation needed, no fines that we passengers end up paying so the GOVERNMENT gets more money...more of OUR money. Just "Hey Delta did this...we have to match it, passengers can actually choose to fly with someone else if we don't!" Its the same thing with baggage fees...every airline glommed onto the idea and then they made PR points against each other by NOT charging for carryon...or charging for carryon but not checked bags..or just not charging either one but raising their ticket prices $25 to make up the difference anyway.

  47. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Senator shows his savvy.

    The Senator has just given a master class in savvy. Not tech savvy, but political savvy.

    He's asked a tough question on privacy. He 'non-answers' it by making a semi-random, nonsense statement regarding the Internet to which there's an entirely predictable reaction and the original question - plus his evasiveness - gets forgotten. A perfect example of how to manipulate an audience.

    Go back and ask him when he will be starting public tours of his house, and can you visit just before he goes to the loo in case it smells a bit afterwards?

  48. one crazy media
    WTF?

    WTF

    Term Limits, Term Limits and Term Limits.

    Get these coal miners and builders out of here.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      Proteges, proteges, and proteges. For every solution you can propose, they will already have a counter.

  49. imanidiot Silver badge
    Pint

    This is not age or inexperience talking

    What you hear is the lobbyists of the big telco's talking. It's very obvious this guy has only listened to the guys buying his lunch and dinner.

    >> Some of those might have been involved -->

  50. Gigabob

    Term Limits - Appealing - Curbing Lobbyists - More so

    These guys have not been in Congress for 30+ years without knowing more than they le on. In this case it is Republican greed and enrichment at the hands of monied interests. Other countries call them bribes. We have an arcane dance that absolves Congressmen of recognizing what is a direct quid pro quo for their votes - but it is bribes for votes. And that is not supposed to be legal.

    I will be waiting anxiously to see what the Congressman's browsing history looks like.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Term Limits - Appealing - Curbing Lobbyists - More so

      Term limits will just be handled with proteges. As for lobbyists, how do you deal with it when the lobbyist is your spouse?

  51. Dave 15

    "My job, I think, is to tell you that you... "

    What you paid me to tell you... all those backhanders will come in very useful towards paying my grand kids private education thanks very much

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well at least he's not worried about an island flipping

    too bad idiot statements by old and insulated (insulated being the biggest problem with Senators who serve well past their useful lives for *all* parties) aren't promoted as much as idiot statements by only one side.

    People thinking Democrats are geniuses because they only received the properly filtered statements and never see years of jokes or hype about typical responses like this genius-most "liberals" have never even heard it. But they "remember" everything any Bush said because they're *reminded* of it.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hank-johnson-worries-guam-could-capsize-after-marine-buildup/

    or this special case which, outside of a few tech blogs and El Reg, went mostly unnoticed and still doesn't get the constant attention it deserves:

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/04/senator-calls-for-the-anarchist-cookbook-to-be-removed-from-the-internet/

    but we ALL are constantly reminded about "internet of tubes" jokes. even over a decade later.

    People start thinking *their* people are geniuses, when the truth is, someone hid or buried all the idiot statements and actions of "their side".

    Term limits for EVERYONE!

  53. ecofeco Silver badge

    Further proof

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: the powers that be really have no clue how the Internet works.

  54. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    I Object Your Honor

    The epithet 'idiot' when used in reference to the Honorable Rep. Sensenbrenner casts an unduly harsh criticism upon the senile everywhere who certainly do not use the Internet being prevented by the drool that renders inoperable any input device in their proximity, indeed if they even comprehend that it exists.

    One must never confuse the drool of the senile with the foam of the truly mentally disturbed who often manage to express their alarming opinions despite their frighening excretions.

  55. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    That would appear to reflect the argument put forward by the Republican party that less government equals more competition – but unfortunately it is an argument not borne out by the facts.

    Facts, schmacts! Who needs facts? Sensenbrenner is a Republican, and the facts are what he'll tell you they are, and you'll be damn happy about it, too!! They'll be no independent thought around here, goddammit!

  56. jamesb2147

    What makes this bad

    ...is not mentioned in the article explicitly.

    You do not have to prove anything, Kieren, with evidence. The man made his point: He voted for personal choice.

    ...Except he didn't. The FCC rules never took effect, so if the FCC had been left without this law, nothing would have changed. Today, as 6 months ago, an ISP can sell your data without telling you. What the rules did were to impose standards on that data collection. ISP's had to have opt-in to their marketing programs and had to tell you clearly and upfront that they were selling your data.

    Mr. Sensenbrenner voted against you making an informed decision. He did NOT vote for personal choice. He voted against informed consumers, and by making it a law, he made it much more difficult for future FCC's to impose similar rules.

    FUCK THAT. What he did was much, much worse than standard partisanship or "voting against privacy [by default]". He actually REMOVED CHOICE for consumers. FUCK THAT MAN.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redundancy

    Headline: "...idiot congressman..."

    Help stamp out, abolish and obliterate redundancy.

  58. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Cheese for brains.

  59. jimdandy
    Windows

    Yeah, yeah yeah. Old entrenched and well-paid tools, long past their date of effectiveness but supported by the machine - what's new about that?

    They do come in both flavors - Pelosi anyone? She's either more technically aware than SimpsonBrenner, or just better supported by staff.

    Changing the flavor doesn't always make a difference. An educated and aware majority of the voting population should be able to make changes that will make a difference.

    Lacking that (as we seem to be), anybody else got an answer?

    And don't give me the "R" word; it hasn't gotten bad enough for that yet.

  60. 1Rafayal

    If you dont like ISIS, just pretend they dont exist

  61. R.P.Charlie

    Should change his name

    to Non-Sensenbrenner.

    I doubt that one can get about, anywhere in the developed world today, without the Internet .

  62. VanguardG

    I went to his website, to send him an email, you have to put in your ZIP (postal) code, and if its not in his district, it will reject your email. Wow, that's security!!!

    Took a few seconds to find the towns and codes he represents and plug them in with a mythical address. Not that he'll ever see the end message...since it didn't fawn all over him and show my reverance for his wisdom, I'm sure it was deleted almost instantly. A benefit of never actually being around the regular citizens - you don't ever have to hear, let alone listen to, criticism...you have a staff to ensure you only see messages that tell you how great you are.

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