This is a busy news week, y’all, but I wanted to rant about the Internet for a bit.
This is a two-part complaint concerning the new rollbacks the Republicans passed and Trump signed and the internet problems I’m experiencing.
Rollback of Internet Rules
As you may know, Congress just sold Americans’ privacy away a couple of weeks ago. They moved to repeal the internet rules established by the Obama administration and Trump signed off on it.
As part of the 2015 Open Internet Act, the Internet was treated like a utility. And effective this year, Internet service providers (ISP’s) would have to take extra measures to protect the privacy of their customers. The rules would have required ISP’s to take “reasonable extra security measures” in case of data breaches.
Additionally, ISP’s would be limited in their ability to sell user information. However, that last rule was blocked by the Federal Communications Commission the day before it went into effect. That means ISP’s could sell customer information like browser history,
The law the Republicans passed allows companies like Verizon and AT&T to compete with Google and Facebook for advertising dollars. People like FCC chairman Ajit Pai and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) argue that ISP’s should be subject to Federal Trade Commission Rules as opposed to Federal Communications Commission rules.
To that, I call BS.
I feel this way because companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are utilities. Facebook and Google are not!
Now, I have a problem with the fact that those last two can sell user information, but that is the trade-off for using those services for free and those companies have less of our information than ISP’s do. Also, it is easier for people to move away from those websites than it is to find another cable and internet provider.
My Internet Problems
Well, what I’m experiencing right now is twofold: I have to deal with a slower internet depending on the site I’m on and my computer has been overheating a lot lately.
One problem is leading to the other.
Part of the problem is some sites require me to disable my AdBlock in order for the site to be functional. I do that, but then I’m am often bombarded by ads that eat up a significant amount of broadband and ads that pretty much destroy the intended layout of websites. In the end, those ads slow up the loading time considerably.
Another part of the problem is the amount of crap websites put within their own code. YouTube is notorious for adding unneeded bells and whistles and it makes its videos’ default engine one that requires a high amount of machine acceleration. Both make my computer overheat within an hour of use, no matter how many applications I am running at the time.
Google Chrome is murder on my computer when I go to certain websites. Firefox is a nightmare of its own with its constant updates. (I can’t go a half hour without experiencing problems with that browser and it may also overheat my system, but not as fast as Chrome does.)
When my system overheats, it automatically shuts down. I can be working on a blow post or in any other program and I have to stop until my computer cools down. It’s frustrating.
If I had my way, I would overhaul our communications laws, at least where the Internet is concerned.
How would I do it? Well, as part of any new law, I would make sure to include these stipulations:
- The Internet, like phone and cable service, should be recognized as a utility. Therefore, any company that provides phone, internet, and cable services should be designated “common carriers” and be subject to FCC rules. Basically, I would restore this Obama-era rule.
- As a company is designated a common carrier, it would be barred from selling off user information UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. There would be no exceptions. Any company in violation of that rule would pay a steep fine.
- Common carriers would have to be more transparent with customers about the type of information they share and the companies have to justify why they are sharing that information. Furthermore, they would be barred from sharing certain information, like Social Security Numbers, identities, and browser histories, unless the customer is part of a governmental investigation and in accordance with due process.
- Common carriers would have to provide thorough and complete privacy policies, along with a Cliff’s Notes version.
- For the heck of it, I would limit the number of ads a website could feature on any given page and limit the amount of broadband each ad can take up. (This would have to be an international law in order to be more effective, but American companies with websites would have to comply with a domestic law.)
- I would also require websites to forgo graphics and machine acceleration if 40% of computers still in use are not equipped for their flash engines.
There’s probably more that should be done, but that’s what I can think of right now.
In the Meantime …
I would like the stipulation the Republicans put in to bar similar Internet rules to the ones passed during Obama’s administration to be set again. That clashes with the best interests of consumers and should be litigated.
I would also like to look into finding a way to pay for services like Google and Facebook or to bar them from selling certain information to advertisers without express user consent. If I couldn’t do that, I think users should get a cut.
Dunn, Jeff. “Republicans are moving to kill rules that’d make internet providers get your consent before selling your Web browsing data.” Business Insider. 9 Mar 2017. Web. <http://www.businessinsider.com/r-congress-may-overturn-obama-internet-privacy-rules-2017-3>.
Fiegerman, Seth. “Congress just killed your Internet privacy protections.” CNN. 28 Mar 2017. Web. <http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/28/technology/house-internet-privacy-repeal/index.html>.
Hoffman, Chris. “Why YouTube in Chrome (and Firefox) is Draining Your Laptop’s Battery and How to Fix It.” How-To Geek. 9 Sept 2015. Web. <https://www.howtogeek.com/227940/why-youtube-in-chrome-and-firefox-is-draining-your-laptop%E2%80%99s-battery-and-how-to-fix-it/>.