TO THE EDITOR:
In response to a piece published Thursday on Congress’s change in internet privacy regulation by Paige Colpo, I want to emphasize that this action is absolutely against the interest of the public.
Looking at donations to members of Congress from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it is clear that political support for this change came solely from special interest influence. Not only do these changes allow ISPs to infringe on the privacy of internet users, but it also compounds with the problem of low competition that already exists in the industry.
In reducing privacy regulations, Congress has forfeited the government’s role in protecting the rights of the people in an industry where the market fails to do so. Thanks to the high barriers to entry, ISPs operate with little to no competition nationwide meaning that normal free market functions do not always apply. In most cases, internet users do not have the ability to change ISPs resulting in high prices and notoriously poor service throughout the industry.
Without competition, ISPs are free to capitalize on selling user data even if it is against the wishes of consumers. The public relies on Congress to protect its interest in situations like this, and Congress has failed to do so. Luckily, tools exist to protect your own internet privacy, and I encourage people who are concerned to research VPNs, research encryption and check out the recent U.S. PIRG article on tips to protect your internet privacy by Ed Mierzwinski.