The House of Representatives passed and agreed to the S.J.Res. 34 on March 28, 2017, just a scant five days after the measure passed in the Senate. The joint resolution repeals privacy protections put into place by the Obama administration and effectively makes it okay for internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner to collect and sell their customers’ personal browsing data.
A Supernatural Response
In response, Supernatural star Misha Collins has started a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising enough money to purchase the personal browsing data of all of the congressmen and women who voted in favor of the bill. Misha started the fund right after the resolution was passed and it has gained a huge amount of traction on social media. According to the first update, Misha wrote the following as the goal for the fundraiser.
“Congress recently voted to strip Americans of their privacy rights by voting for SJR34, a resolution that allows Internet Service Providers to collect, and sell your sensitive data without your consent or knowledge. Since Congress has made our privacy a commodity, let’s band together to buy THEIR privacy.
“This GoFundMe will pay to purchase the data of Donald Trump and every Congressperson who voted for SJR34, and to make it publicly available.
“Game on, Congress”
The fundraiser is set at the lofty goal of $500M, but has already raised nearly $50,000 in one day with almost 2,500 people donating. If the fundraiser fails to meet its goal, Misha promises that the money will still be well spent. If not enough money is raised to buy the data, all proceeds will go to the ACLU to “help fight to protect all Americans’ rights.”
To allay suspicions and fears of doxxing (doxxing is the release of personal data meant to encourage others to harass or harm the person whose data has been released), Misha also made sure to post this.
“PS: No, we won’t “doxx” people. We will not share information that will impact the safety & security of their families (such as personal addresses). However, all other details are fair game. It says so right in the resolution that they voted to approve.”
What is S.J.Res. 34?
The Senate Joint Resolution No. 34 is titled as this.
” A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services'”
That mouthful essentially means that Congress has repealed an FCC rule that requires an ISP to get a customer’s permission before they sell any sensitive data, including browsing history. Opponents of the resolution say that the rules prevent an ISP from hijacking searches or installing undetectable and undeletable tracking cookies in all unsecured web traffic.
Proponents of the resolution say that this is meant to level the playing field between an ISP and companies such as Google or Yahoo, who routinely collect data from customers. They say that Google routinely tracks and sells data without a user’s permission and this legislation repeals unfairly strict guidelines.
Another consequence of the repeal is that your ISP is no longer required to warn you if your data has been breached, nor are they required to take reasonable measures to protect your data. Additionally, because of the Congressional Review Act, the repeal cannot be repealed.
“Once a rule is thus repealed, the CRA also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same, “unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule.”
[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP Images]