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Shea-Porter And Kuster Vote Against FCC Giveaway Of Your Private Internet Information

Republicans in Congress just sold you out. They have just voted to allow all of your online activities and data to be sold to corporations by your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) without a consumer’s permission.

Both Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02)  voted “no” on S.J.Res.34.

“Today, I voted against rolling back Internet privacy protections. Allowing Internet companies to sell personal information flies in the face of the New Hampshire ‘live free or die’ values we cherish,” said Shea-Porter. “Congress should be doing more to safeguard our Internet privacy, not making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect their own data.”

The legislation Shea-Porter opposed would overturn Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that currently require ISPs to secure a consumer’s permission before selling their private internet browsing history and other sensitive information. It would also overturn rules that currently require ISPs to use “reasonable measures” to protect consumers’ personal information. For these reasons, leading privacy organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Consumer Federation of America, and Access Now opposed S.J.Res.34.

A staunch Internet privacy advocate, Shea-Porter previously introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 to ensure consumers are notified quickly if their private information has been compromised, and help prevent cyber-attacks by addressing the underlying problem of lax security and a lack of accountability. She has also co-introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring current and prospective employees from disclosing their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a job, and was a leader in 2014’s successful fight to defend net neutrality.

“It is unacceptable that Republicans in Congress are trying to roll back basic privacy protections for internet users. Instead of voting on a bill that will make it easier for Internet Service Providers to sell customers personal information, Congress should be working together to strengthen existing privacy protections for broadband users,” said Kuster.  “Today’s vote begs the question, who is Congress working for: Granite Staters and Americans who use the internet, or multi-million dollar Internet Service Providers? I’m disappointed by today’s vote and will continue to stand up for the right to online privacy.”

Our right to privacy should be protected, not sold to marketing firms and multi-national corporations.  

Without Net Neutrality Freedom Of Speech Is Lost

image by by  Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

image by Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

The freedom of speech is our most coveted right, and that right is about to be squashed by corporate greed if we do not ensure net neutrality.

Right now the FCC is accepting public comments on a rulemaking change that would threaten how we access the internet, limiting traffic to websites, and blocking internet content. 

“Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers and governments should not discriminate against or block legal content on the web. If a company like Verizon slowed access to or blocked a competing firm’s website on its networks, it would be violating the concept of net neutrality.” (Truth-Out)

The rulemaking change, which is expertly explained in this article from Truth-Out, shows how these seemingly small changes could have enormous impacts.

As a website owner I am not in direct competition with internet service providers (ISPs) however as a union activist, the content I push may not fall in line with what ISPs like Comcast and Verizon want you to see. Over the past few years the NH Labor News has covered stories about Comcast workers fighting for their right to unionize, and the major CWA – IBEW strike with Verizon workers.

Without net neutrality, Comcast and Verizon could very easily block their paying internet customers from viewing the NH Labor News website, therefor strangling my freedom to speak out against them. I am small potatoes when it comes to the possible union websites that ISP’s could be blocked for being against their business models. The Communication Workers of America, the IBEW, and the AFL-CIO could all be blocked for speaking out against Comcast or Verizon.

There are other potential outcomes if this new rulemaking goes through. Internet service providers could place limits on how much speed is dedicated to particular websites. In simplistic terms this means non paying sites would be slowed down, taking longer to load. Of course sites like Netflix and Google would be able to pay Comcast to ensure that they do not see limits on their content. This would create a two-tiered system of websites, one for the corporations who have millions of dollars to line the pockets of the ISPs, and the rest of us.

This is where we must speak out if we want to keep the internet from becoming another corporate controlled profiteering device. The ISPs want to continue to charge us to access the internet, and charge businesses from the privilege of letting their content be viewed on the ISPs network.

Our voice matters, and our voices are being heard.

Amidst public outcry, the commission added language to the proposed rules asking the public if “paid prioritization” deals could be banned outright, so a federal ban on “fast lanes” is still on the table.” (Truth-Out)

Make you voice heard by contacting the FCC and make sure that they keep the internet open and unrestricted.

“The FCC is taking comments on its proposal at OpenInternet@FCC.gov. The initial deadline for comments in July 15 and the deadline for reply comments is September 15, but the agency is expected to keep the inbox open until it votes to finalize the proposal.”

Whether you like what I have to say, or you are vehemently opposed to what I say, net neutrality ensures that I have the freedom to say it. That freedom is what is really important.

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