Activists target ads at lawmakers who voted to sell your data for targeted ads
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Activists target ads at lawmakers who voted to sell your data for targeted ads


Members of Congress who voted to sell your web history for advertising are now seeing some personalized ads of their own.

Online privacy activists have placed attack billboards in the districts of several lawmakers who pushed through a bill letting internet providers pawn off their customers’ browsing data.

The group behind the ads, Fight for the Future, said it specifically targeted the legislation sponsors who have drawn the most campaign donations from the telecom industry. The money needed to place the ads was raised through a crowdfunding page.

The billboards each feature the headshot and name of the politician in question, the amount of money they’ve received from businesses with an interest in passing the bill, and their office phone number.

“They might think that they’ve gotten away with it, but they’re wrong,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future. “These billboards are just the latest example of the growing public backlash to these attacks on our Internet freedom and privacy.”

Image: fight for the future

The law repeals a landmark Obama-era Federal Communications Communication rule that required providers to seek permission before selling consumer data. 

President Donald Trump signed the bill into law last month despite polls showing abysmal support among the public at large. An overwhelming majority of Republicans in the House and the Senate voted for it. 

Some big service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast vowed at the time they wouldn’t actually sell consumer data, a questionable claim considering that those same companies poured large sums of money into the lobbying efforts that made the deregulation possible.

The law’s passage sparked massive backlash from consumers of every political leaning. Some irate internet activists raised money to buy individual congress members’ search history before realizing that personal information is not sold a la carte. 

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May 5, 2017
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