Your Identity, Please

It is now legal for Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, et. al. to collect whatever personal data about you that they can glean from your online presence. Then they can sell it to whomever they please for whatever purpose. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Information about your finances
  • Information about your health
  • Information about your spouse and children
  • Your home address and phone number
  • Your social security number
  • The web sites you visit
  • The content of your online communications

You should particularly note the item in bold: Your social security number is for sale. Let me rephrase that: Your identity is for sale. There is no single item of information about you that is more critical to protect than your SS number. That is the Holy Grail of identity thieves. With your SS number, they can potentially access your bank account, acquire credit cards in your name, open lines of credit, make purchases, get loans … I’m sure there are things they know of that I can’t even imagine.

Congress has given away your identity. More precisely, they have sold your identity to Comcast, et. al. for job security — that is, the money to finance their next campaign. Let me be even more precise: The vote to overturn the relevant privacy regulation was strictly along party lines. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which party voted to favor corporations over your privacy.

What’s the rationale behind this reprehensible decision? To level the playing field so that AT&T and friends have access to the same info as Google, Facebook, etc. OK, how about this possibility — level the playing field in the other direction, towards more protection for your privacy than less.

I’m betting that question never came up.

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