Internet providers now have the ability to sell the browsing history of customers
It was just last month that the House of Representatives voted to block online privacy regulations, thus giving internet providers the option to sell their customers private browsing habits if they so desire.
With former President Barack Obama’s original intention being to give consumers’ a stronger hold on personal information shared across the internet, this new bill once again has Democrats and Republicans at a point of heated contention.
Prominent news organizations such as Fox, CNN and NBC covered the new bill with as much objectivity as deemed socially acceptable, while opinionated citizen journalists have taken to YouTube and other online social media sites to vent their thoughts and frustrations regarding the matter.
In a recent interview with Fox News, technology expert Scott Schaffer said, “Nothing’s really changed, what happens is awash now because these regulations were never actually put into effect, so this rolls them back.
However, what it does is that while all the internet providers have had the opportunity to collect this data and sell it, they haven’t mainly for the risk of being sued.”
With the information of consumers now open to a virtual world of money-hungry advertisers, there is already great fear of privacy invasion and cyber security threats.
In a live interview session with Corey Nachreinder, the chief technology officer of Watchguard Technology, Fox News allowed viewers to live tweet or Facebook post their main questions and concerns to be answered by the technology expert.
When questioned as to what specific areas would be most affected by the change, Nachreinder said, “The main information being sold to advertisers is your browsing history, which can include financial, healthcare, even information about your children.”
If that’s not enough to worry even the most care-free of web users, I don’t know
Realistically this change will affect every household in America in some way or other.
Whether for better or worse, as sales climb for those literally buying into the advertisements before their faces, at the same time those advertisements are invasively pushing into the lives of individuals surfing the web.
Each side has its pros and cons.
It’s incredibly difficult not to see only the bad in this decision when thinking about the reality of personal information sold to the highest bidder, eager to then sell and re-sell private information to greedy hands.
Where does this fit into the American opportunity to pursue happiness when the fear of simply googling something or making a purchase online could potentially lead to fraud or theft?
Because we are a technology-driven society, I am confident this change will in no way stop individuals from using the internet.
But I do hope that it makes people stop and think.
I hope web users will remember that the most private of information needs to be guarded, and I hope companies and organizations will remember that we are people, not just consumers.
Longie is an opinion writer.