Shh… your secrets were just sold

Today, the US Government repealed an FCC law that protected the privacy of personal information and activity shared online.

Here’s what you were just opened up to…

“…customers’ privacy interests reach far beyond targeted marketing, to include for instance risk of identity theft or other fraud, stalking, and revelations of private communications, as well as the harms inherent in lacking control over the uses of their proprietary information.” This includes giving foreign countries and political campaigns the ability to purchase our most private activity and personal details which they can use to create psychological profiles.

WHAT THE FCC WAS PROTECTING:

“For purposes of the sensitivity-based customer choice framework we adopt today, we find that sensitive customer PI includes, at a minimum, financial information; health information; Social Security numbers; precise geo-location information; information pertaining to children; content of communications; call detail information; and a customer’s web browsing history, application usage history, and their functional equivalents.” Yes, that includes information on children.

‘“BIAS content includes, but is not limited to, the “contents of emails; communications on social media; search terms; Web site comments; items in shopping carts; inputs on web-based forms; and consumers’ documents, photos, videos, books read, [and] movies watched[.]”’

CONTENT:

“… the body of a Web page, the text of an email or instant message, the video served by a streaming service, the audiovisual stream in a video chat, or the maps served by a turn-by-turn navigation app.”

GEO-LOCATION:

“Real-time and historical tracking of precise geo-location is both sensitive and valuable for marketing purposes due to the granular detail it can reveal about an individual. Such data can expose “a precise, comprehensive record of a person’s public movements that reflects a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” In some cases, a BIAS provider can even pinpoint in which part of a store a customer is browsing.”

WEB-BROWSING:

“Browsing history can easily lead to divulging other sensitive information, such as when and with what entities she maintains financial or medical accounts, her political beliefs, or attributes like gender, age, race, income range, and employment status. More detailed analysis of browsing history can more precisely determine detailed information, including a customer’s financial status, familial status, race, religion, political leanings, age, and location.”

APP USAGE:

“Whether on a mobile device or a desktop computer, the user’s newsreader application will give indications of what he is reading, when, and how; an online video player’s use will transmit information about the videos he is watching in addition to the video contents themselves; an email, video chat, or over-the-top voice application will transmit and receive not only the messages themselves, but the names and contact information of his various friends, family, colleagues, and others; a banking or insurance company application will convey information about his health or finances; even the mere existence of those applications will indicate who he does business with. A customer using ride-hailing applications [Uber or Lyft], dating applications, and even games will reveal information about his personal life merely through the fact that he uses those apps, even before the information they contain (his location, his profile, his lifestyle) is viewed.”

“The BIAS provider has the technical ability to access the most complete and most unavoidable picture of that history.”

In other words… every detail of your life, behavior, personality, interests, etc. is up FOR SALE now.

… but you can be sure it won’t come cheap! 

(All information in quotes is copied from the Federal Register document “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” which is the official written details of the FCC rules)

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