Farewell, Internet Privacy

Two days ago, President Trump signed a law that legalizes the practice of selling our internet web browsing histories without our consent. The law applies to internet service providers and not to cloud based services like Facebook.

Even if we use the ubiquitous “Clear Browsing History” command, the internet service providers can still sell our browsing information to any one. And they can keep the proceeds of their sales transactions for themselves.

Isn’t it strange that the national press has been obsessed with the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and yet has virtually ignored the repeal of internet privacy provisions? Considering the fact that ACA repeal would have been phased in during an extended period of time, but internet privacy repeal is effectively immediately?

One could argue that the delivery system of health care services is far more visible to the general public than the delivery of internet services, and thus draws attention to itself more readily. But reasonably healthy people may rarely see their health care providers, whereas they check their mobile phones dozens (or even hundreds) of times per day.

It’s difficult to understand why the news industry has failed to focus its coverage on the legalization of sales of web browsing histories. Unless, of course, those very news organizations are considering the purchase of such data for their own marketing programs.