Adam Mcelhaney, privacy advocate
and net neutrality advocate, sticks it
to Congress. But look before you
contribute to his Go Fund Me account.
They'll fight to the death to keep Donald Trump's tax returns private. Not to mention the contacts of Donald Trump and the people around him with Russian spies against the U.S.
But when it comes to what you search for on the Internet — hey! You, my friend, are fair game.
Congress has signed and sent to the President's desk SJ
Resolution 34, which would allow your Internet Service
Provider to sell your Browsing history to anyone it
chooses. This makes you pretty vulnerable to blackmailers and nosey HR people deciding whether to hire (or retain) you.
But Congress and the President are vulnerable, too. Maybe.
An activist named Adam McElhaney, it telling us that what's good for the goose is good for corrupt Republicans. He is out there on Go Fund Me, seeking contributions to buy and make public Internet browsing data that would expose embarrassing Internet searches and visits by Republicans who voted for SJ Resolution 34. And to equally embarrass business people who will profit from it.
McElhaney also took a poll to ask who should have their browsing histories exposed first— porn searches, medical "interests" (Hmm, do you suppose there's a reason this married Senator keeps looking up "herpes?"), visits to adultery websites, and so on.
You can see the results here. However, in case you're not into clicking around, here are the winners, into whose porn and other interesting website visits you might want to investigate should SJ Resolution 34 prevail:
• Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
• Marsha Blackburn, Republican member of the house and anti-privacy advocate
• Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Majority Leader
• Ajit Pai, Donald Trump's appointee to Chairman of the FCC
• Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast, one of the companies that will be able to make a very fat buck selling your browsing history
• Randall Stephenson, CEO of ATT, another company that will be able to sell your searches and then wallow in profit.
McElhaney claims to have collected a war chest of well over $100,000 so far, but before you contribute too, a heads up.
As of this posting, Resolution 34 isn't law yet. Yet, that is. Moreover, it's not clear that, say, AT&T or Comcast will sell McElhaney (or anybody else) individual browsing histories, rather than fat packets of names and histories.
And while I hate to refer you to a Silicon Valley online rag that detesty threats to Internet profiteers, I feel I must, very unhappily, refer you to an article in TechCrunch declaring McElhaney is a scammer.
Hey, I object to the scammer characterization. However, it is probably true that it won't be easy to find out whether Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell spend their time on chilly Washington nights watching porn stars ejaculate, or whether Roberts and Stephenson have gone looking on a website like Ashley Madison for a little sleazy side action.
All the same, wouldn't it be cool if they were all hoist by their own petards? Maybe, just maybe, if some pro-privacy coders will take the trouble to write a search program, and if McElhaney manages to buy a packet of data, it could even be more than just possible.
But I still wouldn't count on any exposées. Should the public find the same way into Congressional private lives this new law is about to give business into yours, wanna bet what'll happen?
There'll be one law about your privacy and mine, and another hastily-written one about Congressional and Senatorial privacy. Just the way there's one medical plan for you, me and Joe Sixpack, and another super-deluxe, all-expenses-paid medical plan-for-life for Congressmen and Senators.
To paraphrase the late Leona Helmeley, the Queen of Mean, and then filter her through the Republican mentality, laws are just for the little people.