These nonprofits are fighting against a bill that could let Comcast sell your browsing data - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 27, 2017 11:16 am

These nonprofits are fighting against a bill that could let Comcast sell your browsing data

The American Civil Liberties Union and Philly's Media Mobilizing Project explain why the bill would hurt consumers.
Comcast HQ.

Comcast HQ.

(Photo by Flickr user Ryan Hallock, used under a Creative Commons license)

Full Disclosure: Comcast is the title sponsor of Philly Tech Week 2017 and has been the title sponsor of the event, which is organized by Technical.ly, in years past.

Broadband privacy advocates are scrambling to exert pressure on the U.S. House of Representatives as it reviews a bill that would roll back Obama-era internet privacy protections.

The bill, which passed the Senate last Thursday, would essentially allow internet service providers like Comcast to resell users’ browsing data without their explicit approval, while prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission from approving similar restrictions in the future.

Though the House has not yet scheduled a vote to ratify the legislation, activists like West Philly-based Media Mobilizing Project are already organizing to rally opposition to the bill.

“Comcast is already one of the most profitable companies in the world and now they want to get even richer by selling your precious private data — about you, your health, your children, your work in your community — to advertisers who care far more about profit than you and your wellbeing,” the nonprofit stated in an email sent to supporters on Sunday. Media Mobilizing Project has been involved in many campaigns around the telecom giant, including 2015’s landmark franchise agreement renewal with the City of Philadelphia.

Jennifer Bilotta, Comcast’s VP of Communications, declined to comment on the bill and its future implications for the Philly company.

Neema Singh Guliani, Legislative Counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, called the passing of the bill in the Senate “extremely disappointing” and said the legislative body was siding with major internet companies in detriment of citizen’s privacy.

“The resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used,” said Singh Guliani. “The House must now stop this resolution from moving forward and stand up for our privacy rights.”

The organization, along with nonprofit Free Press and Demand Progress, delivered close to 90,000 petitions to repeal the bill to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Regardless, the bill passed.

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Here’s Craig Aaron, CEO of advocacy nonprofit Free Press, railing against the bill.

As the bill moves to the House of Representatives, nonprofit Color of Change made a tool to let those opposing the bill to reach their Congress reps and ask a “no” vote.

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