Last year the FCC laid out landmark rules protecting internet privacy. Now, the current FCC leadership and members of the U.S. Senate are actively seeking to erase them. In fact, S.J. Res. 34 has already passed the Senate, and H.J. Res. 86—The House version of the bill—goes to Congress immediately. The House plans to take up the legislation this week, and we can be assured that is so constituents are not afforded the opportunity to learn the damage that is being done.
For those in need of a primer, eliminating the privacy protections will allow ISPs to aggressively monetize personal data without consent—to the tune of selling internet activity to marketers, targeted advertising, and redirecting traffic to paying third parties. For those interested in acting—and that should be everyone who uses the internet—towards preserving the rights to online privacy, here are some ways to get involved.
Contact Elected Officials
Perhaps the simplest and foremost measure you can take in expressing concerns is to contact your local decision maker. That process can sometimes be veiled in mystery.
The easiest way to find your local representative is to visit house.gov and use the “Find Your Representative” tool; the preceding link will take you directly to it. From there, enter the appropriate zip code and the tool will list the respective representative for that district, along with contact information such as e-mail and website.
Similarly, you can go here for help with a preformatted e-mail and help finding your representative.
Additionally, The Office of The Clerk maintains a member directory with phone numbers and addresses for congress members. Also, as perhaps a last resort, you can call (202) 225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator.
Lastly, one can also use some of the call tools by organizations such as EFF (their call tool here) or FFTF (their call tool here).
Try to remain civil. It is easy to get heated over this issue, but coming across as level-headed always prevails.
Internet activism is becoming an increasingly effective measure; the following petitions are trying to delay or stop the passage of H.J. Res. 86.
Consider donating in support of the organizations and digital rights groups. These groups organize and fight for internet liberties.
Fight For The Future
Electronic Frontier Foundation
American Civil Liberties Union
Center for Democracy & Technology
Internet freedoms like privacy, anonymity, and net neutrality shouldn’t be considered partisan issues—in the digital age, they are human rights.
Comment below if you require assistance in getting involved.
Editorial: Eric Hamilton