by James R. Campbell
It is no small secret that our nation faces many challenges, both foreign and domestic. The list would take up more space than I am willing to devote to it. All one has to do is turn on the national news networks; the first thing you will hear is a litany of obstacles and hurdles we face. Last but not least is the uncertainty as to what the future holds.
If this isn’t bad enough, Congress added to the misery by repealing a regulation that Barack Obama put in place to protect our privacy on the internet. The regulation was slated to take effect in one year. If left in place, it would require that internet providers and others in the telecommunications industry to ask for permission before they sell our information to advertisers.
We can hardly turn on our e-mail without finding junk e-mail from advertisers. But the situation is about to get much worse, thanks to the people who were sworn to protect us.
According to a CNN Money report, the reason behind the repeal was that the regulation would place an unfair burden on other broadband providers, while search engines like Google and Facebook already engage in the practice. One of my friends pointed out that telecommunications companies have been doing this for years. The real problem is that these companies have lobbyists who pay our representatives to repeal regulations and pass legislation that benefits them. They are interested in lining their pockets, not our internet security.
What can we do?
First, check to see if your antivirus software has a VPN, a software utility that cloaks your internet provider address, (IP). Viper antivirus packages have this feature as part of the firewall.
Another course of action: contact your cable company to make sure that they follow Federal Trade Commission guidelines. According to the FTC guidelines, they are prohibited from selling our data for advertisement purposes. My provider is a member of the American Cable Association; they follow FTC mandates. I don’t know how the repeal will affect the regulations of the FTC.
At this point, I would strongly advise that you call your cable or internet provider, and demand that they protect our privacy online. Follow the same procedure with your representative. As I see it, we own this one if we don’t make this a campaign issue in 2018 and 2020. If we can’t trust our government to protect our data, how can we trust it with anything else?
As always, thanks for your time.
About the Author
James R. Campbell, 61, is poet and writer living with total blindness. He has a Bachelor’s in psychology. He has written articles for the Matilda Ziegler Magazine and Consumervision. A a member of Behind our Eyes, Campbell has three poem collections on CD. They can be downloaded at Recordinglibrary.org. In his free time, he likes cooking, playing harmonica, reptiles, and keeping up with current events.