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GOP Congress May Get Burned By Their Own Browser Histories

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Two fundraising campaigns have so far raised more than $250,000 to purchase and reveal the browsing histories of Republican lawmakers who backed S.J. Res. 34, a bill to repeal Obama-era privacy regulations for internet service providers. The Federal Communications Commission last year adopted the privacy rules, which required internet service providers to ask customers for their consent before selling online records, like user location and browser history, for advertising and marketing purposes. The Senate passed the resolution in a 50-48 party-line vote last Thursday.

Supernatural actor Misha Collins raised more than $78,000 through his GoFundMe page.

“Since Congress has made our privacy a commodity, let’s band together to buy THEIR privacy. We will not share information that will impact the safety & security of their families (such as personal addresses),” he wrote. “However, all other details are fair game. It says so right in the resolution that they voted to approve. Game on, Congress.”

The other campaign, led by Tennessee native Adam McElhaney, a self-described “privacy activist and net neutrality advocate,” has raised more than $187,000 in just five days.

“I think that your private Internet history should be yours. I also believe your Internet should be neutral. I am raising money to help secure those freedoms,” McElhaney wrote. “It is my ultimate hope that we will be able to use the donations to restore our right to privacy.”

Max Temkin, one of the creators of the party game Cards Against Humanity, also vowed to buy and publish the browsing history of every member of Congress.

Temkin’s pledge gained traction and support on Reddit, and he wrote a post thanking the site’s users for the response. “We are incredibly excited to see Reddit rally behind a fair and open internet,” he wrote. “We couldn’t have started our company without it.” He urged users to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital-rights advocacy group.

But what these campaigns describe would be illegal no matter what rules the FCC passes, warns writer Russell Brandom in a piece for The Verge.

To read more, please continue to page 2.

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  • Alan is a writer and editor who lives in New York City. His work has been featured in such publications as The Huffington Post, The Advocate, Towleroad, Distractify, Elite Daily, Chelsea Station, and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Film.

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