Facebook Working With Comcast To Scuttle California Broadband Privacy Protections

from the watch-what-we-do,-not-what-we-say dept

Last year you might recall that the GOP and Trump administration rushed to not only kill net neutrality at ISP lobbyist behest, but also some pretty basic but important consumer privacy rules. The protections, which would have taken effect in March of 2017, simply required that ISPs be transparent about what personal data is collected and sold, while mandating that ISPs provide consumers with the ability to opt of said collection. But because informed and empowered consumers damper ad revenues, ISPs moved quickly to have the rules scuttled with the help of cash-compromised lawmakers.

When California lawmakers stepped in to then try and pass their own copy of those rules, ISPs worked in concert with Google and Facebook to scuttle those rules as well. As the EFF documented at the time, Google, Facebook, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all collectively and repeatedly lied to state lawmakers, claiming the planned rules would harm children, increase internet popups, and somehow “embolden extremism” on the internet. The misleading lobbying effort was successful, and the proposal was quietly scuttled without too much fanfare in the tech press.

Obviously this behavior has some broader implications in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Especially given Facebook’s insistence this week that it’s open to being regulated on privacy, and is “outraged” by “deception” as it tries (poorly) to mount a sensible PR response to the entire kerfuffle:

But last year’s joint ISP and Silicon Valley assault on consumer privacy protections wasn’t a one off.

California privacy advocates are again pushing a new privacy proposal, this time dubbed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. Much like last year’s effort the bill would require that companies be fully transparent about what data is being collected and sold (and to who), as well as mandating mandatory opt-out tools. And this proposal goes further than the FCC’s discarded rules, in that it would ban ISPs from trying to charge consumers more for privacy, something that has already been implemented by AT&T (temporarily suspended as it chases merger approval) and considered by Comcast.

But privacy groups note that Facebook and Google are again working with major ISPs to kill the proposal, collectively funneling $1 million into a PAC custom built for that purpose:

Privacy advocates at Californians for Consumer Privacy also wrote a letter to Facebook this week expressing their lack of amusement at the effort in the wake of the Cambridge scandal:

“Something?s not adding up here,? Mactaggart writes. ?It is time to be honest with Facebook users and shareholders about what information was collected, sold or breached in the Cambridge Analytica debacle; and to come clean about the true basis for your opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.”

As we recently noted, however bad Facebook’s mistakes have been on the privacy front, they’re just a faint shadow of the anti-consumer behavior we’ve seen from the telecom sector on this front, suggesting that a disregard for privacy is a cross-industry norm, not an exemption. That said, while Google and Facebook love to portray themselves as the same kind of consumer allies they were a decade ago, their refusal to seriously protect net neutrality — and their eagerness to work with loathed companies like Comcast to undermine consumer privacy — consistently paints a decidedly different picture.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: at&t, cambridge analytica, comcast, facebook, google

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Comments on “Facebook Working With Comcast To Scuttle California Broadband Privacy Protections”

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Anonymous Coward says:

when will it dawn on people that the likes of the ISPS and Facebook are only interested in themselves and will go to any length to maintain their dominance, just like the entertainment industries, are not interested in the people and certainly NOT the rights of the people! as for ‘Zhitterburger’, he’s nothing but a lying fucker who only got where he is through lies and deceit! but like all the wealthy people, in the USA in particular, he will throw money at members of Congress and they will fall over themselves to grab it, in return, letting him and his ilk off the hook!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

uh… it DID dawn on them.

Why do you think people are asking for regulation?
Sure, it is not going to work, but it does at least dawn on them. There is a passage in the Declaration of independence that explains people to a mutha fuckin teee!

“…and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Read it, read it fifty fucking times until it sinks in.

People would rather live under tyranny if that tyranny is easier to live under than to have liberty or to fight for that liberty.

Anonymous Coward says:

…which makes your recent post look really fucking stupid, Karl.

“If You’re Pissed About Facebook’s Privacy Abuses, You Should Be Four Times As Angry At The Broadband Industry”


Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re:

If that were true his points would not have been consistent, but they are. As he stated before, the ISPs are even worse than Facebook et al because they’ve been working closely with the government to provide our data to them.

This is something I’ve been aware of for some time. How come you’re so late? Meanwhile, though it’s true that FB et al have been playing fast and loose with our data they’ve not been quite as bad as the ISPs.

That doesn’t make any of it okay.

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