Opinion

OPINION: TERMS OF USE

SENATE’S WEB BILL BUSINESS AS USUAL

We all signed an agreement to use the Internet at SFCC, but certain rules still apply.

The Senate’s new web privacy resolution seems threatening to your online security, but it’s actually business as usual.

The United States Senate passed the resolution on March 22, reversing Obama era policies safeguarding our web privacy. If this legislation is passed by the House of Representatives, internet carriers wouldn’t need our consent to sell our browsing data. Companies could then use the data to develop ad campaigns, but they are still subject to terms of use agreements to comply with ethical laws. In reality this is no different from the way people freely broadcast their habits onto social media on a daily basis.

“If Trump signs the Senate’s resolution to gut the FCC’s rules, your internet provider will remain free to sell your data to the highest bidder.” said Business columnist Klint Finley of Wired.com in the article “The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole.”

Although alarming, one must take this statement with a grain of salt. The data that companies seek are your internet browsing habits.

As of the publication of this article, the House of Representatives has yet to approve the Senate’s resolution, H. J. Resolution 83, which reverses the Obama era web privacy safeguards.

This legislation, for the most part, wasn’t approved by vengeful Republicans to get back at former President Obama. Senators voted along party lines last month, according to Senate.gov’s roll call on the vote. Pro-business Republicans wanted companies to have easier access to our web browsing habits so they can develop marketing strategies tailored to us.

“As willing partners there will always be rules that both users and internet companies have to abide by,” said Information System Computer Science Department Chair, Max Josquin.

Students at SFCC sign an agreement to use the internet here on campus. SFCC has the right to review our browser history, to ensure we are in compliance with the Student Code of Conduct, however the college still has to abide by certain rules.

Companies may be able to use your browsing history to sell you a mobile phone, but they can’t use it to start accounts in your name or hack your MacBook.

In the world of IT and Communication, State agencies need to follow certain rules when it comes to data collection. Some may see this as a bad thing but they do this so they can stay on top of productivity.

“We cannot break the law, we do not make the law, we have ethical rules so we have to follow that,” said Josquin. “The State and this institution provide a canvas for us to look at, and we follow these guidelines.”

These are the same ethical rules that internet carriers will have to follow, no matter how the House votes when it comes to our web privacy.