WASHINGTON — The Senate introduced a resolution today that would overturn a Federal Communications Commission rule that requires internet service providers to get customers' permission before they sell sensitive consumer data, such as browsing history. Passage of the resolution by Congress would prevent the FCC from issuing similar rules in the future.
This isn't a political story or even an American one. It's increasingly happening everywhere and to everyone.
The sale of aggregated pseudo-anonymized data isn't new either. Coke doesn't know who buys their beverages at the corner store, but the corner store does and can sell that data back to Coke... or to Pepsi. Pseudo-anonymized because it takes very little to pull patterns and unique identifiers out of data and start tracing it back. And, of course, data accumulated is data that can be compromised.
It sounds innocuous but once you realize the market basket analysis can include incredibly personal purchases, including medication, it's less innocuous and more creepy. This is far more intrusive that that.
Our personal data is the most valuable thing we have — why else do you think there's a market to sell it? — yet we treat it like it has no value.
Part of that is nature: We see money leaving our wallets and accounts and our debt growing, we see time ticking away on the clock, but we don't see our private chats, intimate photos, medical records, and financial information being sucked up into the cloud.
Part of that is nurture: We've been trained by Google, Facebook, and the other internet giant to give them our everything in exchange for their "free" services.
Would we accept the selling of data pulled from all the mics and cameras in our homes, our bathrooms, and our bedrooms?
The way we're going — the lack of pushback against Google and Facebook and our desperate desire to avoid even thinking about government and corporate overreach — we probably would.