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posted by on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the another-special-relationship dept.

Full of confidence in Ajit Pai – the new boss at the FCC, America's communications watchdog – groups representing US telcos are seeking a repeal of the regulator's privacy rules.

Citing the appointment of Pai and the imminent decision to roll back the previous administration's net neutrality protections, industry groups now hope that the little requirement for an opt-in for the collection of user data will be frozen, if not done away with completely.

[...] "For over twenty years, ISPs have protected their consumers' data with the strongest pro-consumer policies in the internet ecosystem," the group writes.

"ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on earning their customers' trust on privacy."

Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/31/net_neutrality_dead_privacy_next/


Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: FCC Guards Eject Reporter 37 comments

John M. Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.

Washington Post

“Not only did they get in between me and O’Rielly but they put their shoulders together and simultaneously backed me up into the wall and pinned me to the wall for about 10 seconds just as I started to say, “Commissioner O’Rielly, I have a question,” Donnelly said Friday.

Donnelly said he was stopped long enough to allow O’Rielly to walk away.

Los Angeles Times

Donnelly, who also happens to be chair of the National Press Club Press Freedom team, said he was then forced out of the building after being asked why he had not posed his question during the news conference.

O'Rielly apologized to Donnelly on Twitter, saying he didn't recognize Donnelly in the hallway. "I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry this occurred."

Politico

According to the publication for which the reporter works (archived copy),

Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.

“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by anubi on Thursday February 02 2017, @05:27AM

    by anubi (2828) on Thursday February 02 2017, @05:27AM (#461888) Journal

    It is my belief that my privacy, along with copyright, is a thing of the past.

    Neither are detectable, and all that can really be done are things like "poisoning the well" ( submitting false information to the info gleaners ), or obfuscation ( like encryption ).

    Knowledge of how technology works, like knowledge of how to kindle a fire, is really hard to legislate control over. Whoever wants to practice this art will do it underground if rights enforcement agencies have an issue with it being done in the open. I guess what I am trying to say is I have no ability to enforce my privacy anymore, and neither does anyone else. No more ability than I have to enforce someone else they can't smoke a ciggie in their own house.

    I may shake the hand of a Congressman to have it deemed illegal, but no-one can stop someone from doing it.

    Trying to catch it being done is the real elephant in this room. For all of us.

    Technology changes everything.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:09AM (#461892)

      > I guess what I am trying to say is I have no ability to enforce my privacy anymore,

      You could say that about a million things.
      Like food safety.
      Building codes.
      Air pollution.
      Drug efficacy.
      etc..

      And yet we are able to enforce those things.
      Privacy is no different

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by anubi on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:59AM

        by anubi (2828) on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:59AM (#461906) Journal

        Quite true.

        Food safety: I can detect spoiled food, trace it back to where it spoiled. Hold someone responsible.

        Building Codes: I can inspect item to see if it meets requirements, if not, have them fix it or I won't sign off.

        Air Pollution: Trace it back to the pipe its coming from. Hold the owner of the pipe responsible.

        Drug Efficacy: Good one. No-one seems to know whether the chemical really works or not, or on who it works for. That's why we have to sign all these releases.

        Anything involving our computer codes: its all "hold harmless". No one responsible. If its as much as "protected by an electronic lock", its even unlawful for us to even look at it. If you wanted to spill the beans above the table, make sure the people you do business with have agreed that you will share the info "only as permitted by law", while having Congressmen pen law that you can share it with anyone you have a "business relationship" with..... i.e. they provided you with a "valuable consideration" for the data. Simply print on your business agreement things like " can you limit this sharing? NO ".

        People are incredibly tolerant of signing away anything when the salesman has done a good job, and they feel they just gotta have this thing.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @08:42AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @08:42AM (#461934)

        We aren't able to enforce those things. Enforcement is getting weaker and weaker as time goes on. There are so many products out there and the enforcement agencies get their resources cut again and again that all you need to do to get around laws is to create a company, sell an illegal product, then close the company before the law can catch up with you. Then the next day you create a new company and re-market the exact same thing but with a different logo.

        Other companies that want to stick around longer swap over to legal products when the regulators are looking and then switch back to illegals when they aren't.

        When was the last time you were able to verify the ingredients on something? That it had only what was listed, in that ordered quantity, with the listed nutrient quality. There are plenty of news stories demonstrating those labels aren't fully reliable.

        Just like privacy, you only have the illusions. How much data does Cloudflare have on you? They're 'on' more sites than Google or Facebook.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:25AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:25AM (#461941) Journal

          When was the last time you were able to verify the ingredients on something?

          When was the last time you tried? Doesn't do much good to complain about something, if you're not taking the effort to do something about it.

        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Thursday February 02 2017, @12:09PM

          by driverless (4770) on Thursday February 02 2017, @12:09PM (#461959)

          When was the last time you were able to verify the ingredients on something?

          Only last week, when I found out that some fucking drug addict had cut my cocaine with Saniflush. Had to get the nurse to send the boy out to fill an RX on the double...

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @12:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @12:36PM (#461964)

          > We aren't able to enforce those things. Enforcement is getting weaker and weaker as time goes on.

          (1) Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
          (2) We are able to enforce them, the fact that vested interests have been chipping away at our collective will to enforce them is not proof that they are unenforceable, they are proof that guys like anubi are useful idiots to those vested interests.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @10:18PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @10:18PM (#462146)

            Yeah, however bad the situation is now, the 'we can't perfectly solve every problem so let's give up completely' people are just making it even worse. I tend to think that making a problem even worse than it already was is a bad thing, for some reason.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2017, @01:05AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2017, @01:05AM (#462196)

            As a perfectionist, thank you for reminding me of that.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by acid andy on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:54AM

      by acid andy (1683) on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:54AM (#461903) Homepage Journal

      +1 Depressingly Accurate.

      I thought it could still be saved but the percentage of the populace that even slightly cares about this stuff is absolutely miniscule (especially when compared to the sorts of issues my sibling AC has raised). Worse than that, more of the people who actually DO care about it have been utterly and successfully brainwashed into actually WANTING the processes that are eroding these rights.

      Seems like a whole new civilization is about the only way this stuff would ever be reversed now. I hope I'm wrong.

      --
      Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:34PM (#461970)

      Despite of thousands of years trying, we've still not managed to stop murder. People get murdered every day. Thus following your logic, all that legislation against murder is useless, right?

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:34PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:34PM (#462057)

        Terrible analogy. The State has a real interest in deterring murder, and other such violent crimes, for many reasons (social stability, economic progress, etc.). However, the State has zero interest in protecting your privacy, in fact quite the opposite.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2017, @02:45AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2017, @02:45AM (#462215)

          > However, the State has zero interest in protecting your privacy, in fact quite the opposite.

          That's like saying the state has zero interest in the prosperity of the citizenry.
          It is a short-sighted, ultra-reductive take on life that says more about your nihilism than it does about the values of a modern democracy.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday February 03 2017, @03:38PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday February 03 2017, @03:38PM (#462432)

            Wrong. You're making the claim that privacy for citizens will somehow necessarily result in greater prosperity. That's a specious argument, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. I could make precisely the opposite claim that having no privacy at all will increase privacy, and I can point to factories throughout history where workers had no privacy from managers who watched them at all times to make sure they weren't slacking on the job.

            Personally, I like my privacy, but I'm not about to make up utterly baseless claims about how it's beneficial to society, or that the state would have any interest in it when that is quite obviously a bald-faced lie, as evidenced by the current surveillance state (NSA spying, etc.). In fact, I don't know of any major government now that doesn't spy on its citizens somehow.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:07PM (#462034)

      It is my belief that my privacy, along with copyright, is a thing of the past.

      Neither are detectable, and all that can really be done are things like "poisoning the well" ( submitting false information to the info gleaners ), or obfuscation ( like encryption ).

      This sounds very much like "how could the FBI have read through 6GB of emails in 1 day?" It sounds very reasonable, unless you happen to actually know the field.

      For example, imagine you and 10 other people want to find out the average of how much you all earn in salary, but none of you want to tell the others how much you make. That's impossible, right? Until you know how to do it.

      If you want to maintain your privacy (noting that privacy is a sliding scale, rather than a binary yes-or-no), then you can do so. Pay for things in cash, don't register on websites, use TOR/Tails or public access points like libraries, etc. Yes, it's more trouble, but such is life.

      Copyright is absolutely a thing. If you doubt it, try starting a business selling unlicensed copies of Harry Potter books and see what happens.

      If you were arguing from a social perspective that the general public doesn't value privacy and copyright and thus they are doomed... sure. I could potentially agree with that. If you are arguing from a technology perspective, though, I think you are (-1: Wrong).

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday February 03 2017, @11:17AM

        by anubi (2828) on Friday February 03 2017, @11:17AM (#462320) Journal

        "how could the FBI have read through 6GB of emails in 1 day?"

        The very same way I search through exabytes of information on the web to glean information of how to control the solenoids on the transmission of my van. Electronic searching. In my case.... Google.

        They pick someone they want to run a trace on, and they probably know everywhere that guy has been and who he's talked to.

        Looks quite useful for picking someone out for special treatment - legally.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Friday February 03 2017, @09:28AM

      by Wootery (2341) on Friday February 03 2017, @09:28AM (#462294)

      all that can really be done are things like "poisoning the well" ( submitting false information to the info gleaners ), or obfuscation ( like encryption )

      I like Schneier's taxonomy: avoid, distort, block, break.

      I highly recommend his article Data and Goliath: Four Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Digital Surveillance. [huffingtonpost.com]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by krishnoid on Thursday February 02 2017, @05:29AM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 02 2017, @05:29AM (#461890)

    "ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on maintaining their regional monopoly."

    Seriously, how many news stories could I link to, to support that rewording?

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:19AM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:19AM (#461938) Homepage
      Exactly, the "ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on earning their customers' trust on privacy." sentence stuck out like a saw thumb. Trying to focus it on the privacy aspect still, rather than going straight to the bottom line as you have done, I'd say what's closer to the truth is

      "ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on giving the customers enough warm fuzzies, that actually mean nothing, regarding privacy."
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:13AM (#461893)

    Before Idjit Pai became the loudest asshole on the FCC board, he was an associate general counsel (aka lawyer) at Verizon.
    He worked in the Senate after that. But he clearly hasn't forgotten his roots.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:43PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:43PM (#461995)

      As much as I'd like to agree with you, I do have to point out that we in the tech community were saying pretty much the same thing about Tom Wheeler just before he became FCC chairman. He was a lobbyist for the cable industry before taking this post, and then he did an about-face and pushed Net Neutrality in his FCC position.

      Now of course this doesn't mean Pai is going to do the same thing, especially given that he's a Trump appointee and Republicans and Trump generally hate all regulation unless it enriches big corporations.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:54PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:54PM (#462051) Journal

        Wheeler didn't go on record saying he was going to gut net neutrality the day he was appointed...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:12AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:12AM (#461911) Homepage Journal

    I have no idea what will happen with the FCC. However, the articles from The Register look like they were written by junior-high students working for the school newspaper.

    Take the Register's article about the appointment of Pai as commissioner [theregister.co.uk]: It start's out by making fun of the guy's name in the headline. THey call Trump "President Snowflake". Because Pai references a speech by Jefferson, he is suddenly claiming to be Jefferson. Joe-random-blogger does a better job of hiding his bias.

    If this is what passes for journalism at The Register, I'll be glad to give it a miss in the future.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by aristarchus on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:14AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:14AM (#461937) Journal

      If this is what passes for journalism at The Register, I'll be glad to give it a miss in the future.

      Go ahead, Bradley12! But to my eye, the Register's coverage seemed a bit understated, almost like they held back, because they were afraid of what the Trump Whitehouse might do to them. Same with many other journalists of late, including Reuters. And as for Pai, we cannot mock too much such an asskisser who wants to take away the rights of everyone on the planet. Do you know what we used to call such persons? Yes, "Dicks", as in "Pai Dicks". So good luck with your new policy of avoiding actual news and only listening to what comes out of Trump's Spicer and Faux Neues!

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:20PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:20PM (#461990) Homepage Journal

        " But to my eye, the Register's coverage seemed a bit understated, almost like they held back, because they were afraid of what the Trump Whitehouse might do to them."

        I didn't RTFA because I gave up on "El Reg" years ago, but understated? The only thing understated I ever saw there was when they left out important information to sensationalize a sensational story.

        And why would they fear Trump? They're British! Trump can't touch them.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:50PM (#462010)

          > The only thing understated I ever saw there

          Wooosh!

          Let me clue you in, he was making the point that Idjit Pai is so crazy hungry for telco cock that even the reg's crazy hyperbole is insufficient to describe him.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by FatPhil on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:20AM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:20AM (#461939) Homepage
      The scrollbar is the rectangular thing over there --------------------->
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:37PM (#461971)

        Ah thanks. I always thought the rectangular thing on the right of my monitor was the PC. ;-)

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday February 02 2017, @02:48PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 02 2017, @02:48PM (#461985) Homepage Journal

      "El Reg" has a seriously bad habit of making unsensational stories sensational by leaving out important information. It is not a serious news source.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday February 02 2017, @11:02PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday February 02 2017, @11:02PM (#462164)

      The leading contender for the French presidential election is in deep trouble, after a newspaper with a very register-like tone unearthed some quite unpleasant facts about his wife, kids, and consulting company (hundreds of thousands in shady/illegal income).
      That newspaper already has quite an impressive list of trophies on its wall.

      Sometimes it's a good thing to overlook the writing style and focus on the substance.

  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @09:03AM (#461936)

    Comcast has been selling consumers' information for years. This [xfinity.com] thread on the xfinity customer service page has plenty enough evidence, even if anecdotal, to indicate it's certainly been a policy for some time. Net neutrality did absolutely nothing to stop this. I suppose I could make that statement even more succinct: Net neutrality did absolutely nothing. People thinking they have privacy or security when they don't is far worse than people knowing they don't have security or privacy. I'd love for companies to start publicly and openly selling user information because it would cause people to actually start caring about it. So if canning this impotent set of unenforced rules we call 'net neutrality' is what it takes to get real change then bring it on.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @01:58PM (#461977)

      You are confused. Net neutrality and privacy are completely separate topics, which have nothing in common except for the fact that they both apply to the internet and are subject to FCC regulations.

      Yes, you are right: Net neutrality doesn't do anything for privacy. Guess what: It was never meant to. Expecting net neutrality to improve privacy is like expecting food safety regulations to improve the taste of your food.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @02:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @02:43PM (#461981)

        They are and they are not. Deep inspection of packets my friend. You need that for both: fast lane and privacy-raping policies.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:29PM

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday February 02 2017, @03:29PM (#461993)

        Net neutrality and privacy are completely separate topics

        They most certainly aren't:

        If you don't have privacy but you have net neutrality, if you do want privacy anyway, you encrypt your traffic and it goes through at the same speed as Big Brother traffic.

        If you have neither and you try to encrypt your traffic, the internet becomes intolerably slow - thereby effectively killing your attempt to gain control over your privacy.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:17PM (#462002)

          Why would they slow it down, they'd just block the encrypted traffic outright like some ISP's used to do with legacy P2P traffic.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:44PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2017, @04:44PM (#462009)

      If you think net neutrality is about security or privacy, I think you should double check the meaning. Net neutrality gives anyone serving up content a fair equal footing in bandwidth relative to everybody else rather than giving those with deep pockets a monopoly on the type of content or service provided. Privacy and security are separate matters entirely.

      On that note, I agree that ISPs should work to maintain the privacy and security of their customers, and further that that's no reason that there shouldn't be formal regulations to ensure that they're _required_ to do so. If requirements get repealed, what stops any provider from just saying "Great, we don't have spend any effort at all on privacy or security anymore"?

      Anyone that's ever held a job anywhere knows full well that a company won't dedicate any effort to something that they have no regulatory or financial motivation for. Even if it were in the best financial interests for a company to maintain privacy and security standards without regulatory requirement, that would only last until the second it became more profitable to sell information or access off.

  • (Score: 2) by ilsa on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:41PM

    by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2017, @06:41PM (#462049)

    "ISPs know the success of any digital business depends on earning their customers' trust on privacy."

    "Therefore we must make sure that customers never find out how badly we've been screwing them over. Out of sight, out of mind, after all."

  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:50PM

    by HiThere (866) on Thursday February 02 2017, @07:50PM (#462061) Journal

    This is a known system failure mode for systems that have a centralized control. If you wait long enough, it WILL happen. The problem is that it's difficult to design efficient systems that aren't subject to centralized control (and they have other failure modes...e.g. spam-like activity.

    That said, even if you design a better system with less abusive failure modes, transitioning to it can be quite difficult, and is unlikely to be successful. I.e., judge the cost of a failed transition, and the potential resultant systems, before you engage in irreversible changes.

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 2) by chewbacon on Friday February 03 2017, @05:46AM

    by chewbacon (1032) on Friday February 03 2017, @05:46AM (#462244)

    The net neutrality Obama may take credit for did, in the grand scheme of things, absolutely bupkis. Nothing new here.