The EFF's site points out that more than 83% of Americans support the privacy regulations which were repealed in March by the U.S. Congress, according to a new poll released last week. That's even more than the 77% of Americans who support keeping current net neutrality protections in place, according to the same poll. The EFF now hopes that California's newly-proposed legislation could become a model for privacy-protecting laws in other states. And back in Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News writes that California "has an obligation to take a lead in establishing the basic privacy rights of consumers using the Internet. Beyond being the right thing to do for the whole country, building trust in tech products is an essential long-term business strategy for the industry that was born in this region."
The EFF has also compiled an interesting list of past instances where ISPs have already tried to exploit the personal information of their customers for profit.
- In 2008, Charter play tested the idea of recording everything you do on the Internet and packaging it into profiles...
- We know as of 2015 telecom carriers worked to "ingest" data from cellphones close to 300 times a day every day across 20 to 25 million mobile subscribers (we aren't told which mobile telephone companies participate in this practice, they keep that a secret). That data is used to inform retailers about customer browsing info, geolocation, and demographic data.
- We know in 2011 ISPs engaged in search hijacking where your Internet search queries were monitored in order to be rerouted in coordination with a company called Paxfire...
- We know AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile preinstalled "Carrier IQ" on their phones, which gave them the capability to track everything you do, from what websites you visit to what applications you use. It took a class action lawsuit for the carriers to begin backing down from this idea.
- And lastly, we know in 2014 Verizon tagged every one of their mobile customers' HTTP connections with a semi permanent super-cookie, and used those super-cookies to enable third parties such as advertisers to target individual customers. Not only that, but Verizon's super-cookie also allowed unaffiliated third parties to track you, no matter what steps you took to preserve your privacy. And worst of all, AT&T was going to follow suit to get in on the action but quickly retreated after Verizon got into legal trouble with the federal government.