The world wide web has become an integral part of our daily lives. Many Americans may not be aware, however, that the right to privacy soon won’t be guaranteed when it comes to our internet searches. The U.S. Congress recently passed legislation that takes away any internet privacy for citizens and allows telecommunications companies to sell your search histories.
Research paper topics on this subject to consider include how does such a law play with our Constitutional rights or do we need FCC rules and protections for internet privacy in the first place?
Do you have the right to internet privacy?
“How the Republicans Sold Your Privacy to Internet Providers” by Tom Wheeler for the March 29, 2017, edition of The New York Times, explained what the U.S. Congress voted on and how it affects the FCC and internet privacy. Wheeler wrote, “The bill not only gives cable companies and wireless providers free rein to do what they like with your browsing history, shopping habits, your location and other information gleaned from your online activity, but it would also prevent the Federal Communications Commission from ever again establishing similar consumer privacy protections.”
College courses dealing with government or Constitutional rights will have much to discuss on the topic of the recent change to FCC rules that the U.S. Congress voted on. A research paper could focus on how the right to privacy has adapted to changes in technology.
Dangers of changes to the FCC rules
There are multiple issues that can arise if the changes the U.S. Congress have passed become the new rules for internet privacy. Peter Eckersley and Jeremy Gillula posted, “Five Ways Cybersecurity Will Suffer If Congress Repeals the FCC Privacy Rules” on March 26, 2017, for the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website with some examples.
The two explained how the right to privacy changes could also make people less safe from hackers: “if Internet providers think they can profit from looking at your encrypted data and start deploying these systems widely, we’ll no longer be able to trust the security of our web browsing—and that could end up exposing everything from your email to your banking information to hackers.”
A research paper could look at tests to other Constitutional rights that have been dealt with in the past and if those issues were resolved in a way that protected citizens.
What protections do you have?
A final avenue to explore in a research paper would be ways individuals can stand up for their rights to privacy, particularly internet privacy, in light of the possible rollback of the FCC rules by the U.S. Congress.
According to recent surveys, one way ordinary people are taking a stand is by not doing business with companies that display a lack of respect for consumer privacy. “Survey: Consumers Reject Companies That Don’t Protect Privacy” by Malena Carollo for the January 29, 2016, edition of The Christian Science Monitor reported, “TRUSTe survey found that 71 percent of consumers are dialing back online activity due to concerns over digital security and privacy.”
On the negative side, many consumers didn’t take other precautions according to the survey results. For instance, less than 30 percent turned off the tracking features on their smartphones and only 16 percent of people said they actually read the privacy policies company’s post.
Do you think our Constitutional rights extend to internet privacy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.