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Republican lawmakers just made it legal to buy search histories, so let’s buy theirs

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Yesterday was a very bad day for the real world, as Trump abandoned Obama’s climate change measures in favor of an attempt to time-travel back to a time when the coal industry was still thriving. It was also a very bad day in the digital world, as Republicans quietly made it possible for telecommunications companies to sell your browsing history.

Under Obama, the idea was that the things you’ve looked at online are your business and your property. The House yesterday approved a bill that, according to the New York Times, “not only gives cable companies and wireless providers free rein to do what they like with your browsing history, shopping habits, your location and other information gleaned from your online activity, but it would also prevent the Federal Communications Commission from ever again establishing similar consumer privacy protections.”

That’s very bad! There’s a binary in technology between convenience and privacy, dictating that as our various devices get ever-more connected and consume ever-more data we are off-boarding increasing amounts of our personal information to the companies that made those devices. This bill tips the scales, perhaps permanently, in favor of the corporations.

Self-described “net neutrality activist” Adam McElhaney is attempting to deliver some comeuppance to the Republican lawmakers who approved this measure. A GoFundMe that is currently trending on Reddit is attempting to collect $1 million dollars, with which McElhaney says he will purchase:

The Internet histories of all legislators, congressmen, executives, and their families and make them easily searchable at searchinternethistory.com.

Everything from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity.

Anything they have looked at, searched for, or visited on the Internet will now be available for everyone to comb through.

Okay then! Right now, the domain for his future database of Republican infidelities is down (he has tweeted that it’s overwhelmed with traffic). He’s also scant on plans as to how he’ll actually use the million bucks to accomplish his goal, aside from saying that he’ll “put in bids” on that info from the major telecommunications providers, so it may be best to save your money until that’s all splayed out a little more. But assuming his heart is in the right place, it’s a nice groundswell of support, currently at over $50,000, for opposition to the bill, which he’ll hopefully funnel toward direct action in support of net neutrality.

In the meantime, it sure is nice to dream about what Mitch McConnell browses while his browser is on incognito. Furry stuff? Probably furry stuff.

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