Congress has voted to reverse new FCC privacy protections that would have required internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to seek your permission before sharing information about your browsing history, location history, contacts, and other personal information. Last Tuesday, President Trump signed the measure.
There are some limited steps we as individuals can still take to protect our data. But the truth is that none of them are adequate when the companies that run wires into our home are determined to spy on our use of their services. The best thing Americans can do is to exercise their rights as citizens in a democratic society through activism, voting, working to support and oppose candidates, etc. Right now, people need to make their displeasure heard, loud and clear. Check to see if your senators and representative voted to protect the interests of Big Telecom, or the interests of individuals who don’t want to be spied upon, profiled, bought and sold, and possibly discriminated against. If they did the former, voice your displeasure. Speak up online, support federal legislation to restore these protections, advocate for your state governments to take action to fill the gap left by Congress—and don’t let your memory of this travesty fade away, as telecom-supporting members of Congress are counting on you to do.
We pay our monthly Internet bill to be able to access the Internet. We don’t pay it to give our Internet service provider (ISP) a chance to collect and sell our private data to make more money. This was apparently lost on congressional Republicans as they voted to strip their constituents of their privacy. Even though our elected representatives have failed us, there are technical measures we can take to protect our privacy from ISPs.
Bear in mind that these measures aren’t a replacement for the privacy rules that were repealed or would protect our privacy completely, but they will certainly help.
Pick an ISP that respects your privacy
It goes without saying: if privacy is a concern of yours, vote with your wallet and pick an ISP that respects your privacy. Here is a list of them.
Given the dismal state of ISP competition in the US, you may not have this luxury, so read on for other steps you can take.
Nearly two months into Trump’s presidency, we’ve seen all the stories imploring us to write, call, and fax our senators about the issues that matter most to us. We’ve done our best to digest and implement most of them. Of course, GOOD is certainly guilty of adding to the mounting pile of well-intentioned suggestions, mostly because we can’t imagine not. But we really mean it this time when we say there’s a tech tool that will take the headache out of reaching out to your congresspeople. It’s called “Resistbot,” and it’s by far the easiest way to gradually chip away at Trump’s spirit.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about when border agents can legally conduct searches of travelers’ electronic devices at international airports and other ports of entry. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple.
The government has long claimed that Fourth Amendment protections prohibiting warrantless searches don’t apply at the border. The ACLU takes issue with this position generally, especially when it comes to electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. Our smartphones store detailed accounts of our conversations, professional lives, whereabouts, and web-browsing habits. They paint a far more detailed picture of our private lives than, say, a piece of luggage.
On Saturday night, people at more than 2,200 events around the nation tuned in for the inaugural event of People Power, a new platform harnessing nationwide grassroots resistance to the Trump administration’s assault on our Constitution and our values. At the event, we announced “Freedom Cities,” a campaign that provides a concrete plan for the People Power team to play offense in cities and towns across the country.