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US Senate votes to undo FCC internet privacy rules (washingtonpost.com)
992 points by daegloe 33 days ago | hide | past | web | 441 comments | favorite



So, it's weird. I was on reddit this morning, and there seemed to be a bit of astroturfing going on about this.

The comments i replied to, which all claimed "this was a power grab by the fcc from the ftc" (which is ajit's talking points), are now deleted. In fact, every account i can find that said similar things is now deleted. https://www.reddit.com/user/danberlin/comments/ (click on context for any of them).

In any case, for the curious, here's the history here:

The FTC historically did privacy for ISP's.

FTC has no section 5 authority (IE to make those kinds of rules) for common carriers. It's specifically exempted by the FTC act, and has been for 90 years. This has been upheld in court. See https://iapp.org/news/a/the-att-v-ftc-common-carrier-ruling-...

In June 2015, the FCC reclassified the ISP's as common carriers.

Tada, the FTC rules no longer apply.

So the FCC regulated them with roughly the same set of rules.

Now they've undone this.

Now the claim is "well, the FTC should be doing it, it was just a power grab by the FCC". But that's not really accurate. The power grab, if any, was reclassifying them as common carriers. Once that was done, they pretty much had to regulate them because the FTC can't.

Because the FTC still doesn't have authority to regulate them, and they are still classed as common carriers, there is a void.

Now, it may actually be better for the FTC to be regulating them. But it's definitely the case that, for the moment, no privacy rules will apply to them because the FTC can't regulate them until the FTC's common carrier exemption is repealed.

See Maureen(an FTC commissioner)'s speech here: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements...

Note, the speech is out of date a bit, because since then, the 9th circuit court ruled that the exemption is status based, not activity based, despite what the FTC wants.


I wish the original article contained any of this background instead of usual "they canceled the rules to protect your privacy and to defend you from hackers, because they are evil of course".

I hate when they do that - replace actual content of the legislation being talked about with genetic description like "aimed to protect you from hackers". Clearly there's a controversy between whether this protection is appropriate or not. I expect from reporting to tell me what controversy is about and let me decide which side I like, not to shove a pre-manufactured opinion down my throat. I've read the article and I still have no idea what the actual disagreement is about. But at least from the comment above I now know the background of what's going on.


> I expect from reporting to tell me what controversy is about and let me decide which side I like, not to shove a pre-manufactured opinion down my throat

I've yet to identify a news website that (a) doesn't do this and (b) writes enough about topics I care about.

I think we'll get back to quality reporting where we can rely on certain publishers, but we're not there yet.

Simply put, the internet gave the world the opportunity to create too much noise and it's going to be awhile until the dust settles or the fog clears.


For whatever reason, it seems like basically all media outlets these days are devoted to pushing a particular point of view rather than just providing background.


Exactly.


There may be attempted manipulation via flagging going on here as well: the story has 450 points over two hours and so should be glued to the top of the HN front page, yet it's only at seventh (and the comment count, at 288, is nowhere near the flamewar detection threshold).


Indeed, some people are flagging this entry, the question is: are they doing it because they are against political articles on HN, or, because they are part of some advocacy group trying to move this news from the top.


There's another reason too: defense against cognitive dissonance. If it's one's "own team" that did something bad, and that person is unwilling to give up allegiance to their team, they will often act out in other ways to resolve the conflict. Especially since the partisan aspect of the issue is not headlined, the defenses will be similarly under the surface.


I flagged this story and comments like this is why. If you want to argue the pros and cons of a government policy, do so. Reading accusations of astroturfing etc is not intellectually gratifying.


So… you flagged because of those kinds of comments, those comments are there because you flagged it. That's kind of a self fulfilling prophecy.


Actually, it strikes me as more of a time-traveler's paradox.


My assertions in particular are not about astroturfing, but about politically motivated flagging.


Part of that could be from peoples' adherance to the HN norm of "no politics allowed".


Personally I find the norm here of people constantly spouting off about "rules and norms" to be even more annoying.

This community has active moderators, moderation is their job, not yours. If you don't like a story or a post, flag it so the moderators can do their jobs and move on.

I would rather have a moderator look at a flagged post, determine it's inside/outside rules, and flag/unflag it, than have to read a dozen posts from the peanut gallery with snide rules lectures or debates on whether it's in the rules or not.

(not quite a direct response to you in particular, more of a general observation)


> the HN norm of "no politics allowed"

That isn't a norm I'm aware of. There is plenty of politics every day on HN; there are some limits, but it's common.


I think there is a norm of "no purely political stories", and an expectation that it is a story the hacker news audience will care about. Internet privacy rules seem very much in-bounds.


That's not an HN norm (though a temporary experiment in that direction was carried out), though a much weaker form of it is.


I'm a mod of that sub. Next time just send us a modmail so we can look into such behavior and hopefully tackle it.


Makes me wonder if this is at least partially intended to create a reason to roll back common carrier status.


Just to followup, someone privately pointed out to me there appears to be at least some privacy protection afforded here by section 222 of the communications act: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/222

I think it's important people get a fair view, regardless of whether i may be initially right or wrong, so thought it was worth mentioning.

I have not delved into "what is the definition of a telecommunications carrier and do ISP's meet it" (or is there some other exception).


Millions of fake comments. Sad!


Reddit really needs to clean house in a huge way.

That they let this kind of shit go on, in addition to allowing The_Donald and other hate groups to exist on their site, is really disheartening and has really turned me off to even visiting much anymore. The place is overrun by bots, paid astroturfers, and vile racists.


I find the_donald annoying and idiotic. But the anti-Trump front page material on reddit is equally annoying and idiotic.

I don't mind political discussion or opinionated pieces if they're intelligent, open-minded, and at least intended to be productive (as opposed to outgrouping and other forms of villification). I'm not interested in 21st century "two minute hates".


I can see the case for banning bots and astroturfers.

But I've seen the term "hate group" sometimes used to silence the expression of views that one finds disagreeable.

In my estimation, what you're advocating is likely to cause more harm than good to the robustness of public debate.


This should be covered by NYTimes and the other news outlets. The lede is that this restriction was enforced by "the government" for a long time, and the FCC power grab argument is a non-starter.

Internet browsing history is like one's library, phone and mail records all lumped into one. The Internet is a basic necessity in the developed world, and so it should be treated like a utility (common carrier) that they are.

This is THE SAME THING as the USPS, your library branch, and your telephone carrier selling your transaction records for profit.

It is dispicable.


It's been covered fairly extensively by all the major news sources (Nytimes article here: https://mobile.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/03/23/us/politics/a...) but the Trump circus is just DDOSing all other news. If it weren't so likely to end with several of his staffers in jail, I'd think it was purposeful.


The same will happen here on HN at times. A whole bunch of inflammatory comments and then a few hours later all that remains are a few '.'s.

Mission accomplished I guess.


> The resolution also would bar the FCC from ever enacting similar consumer protections. It now heads to the House.

This is honestly the most frightening thing to me. Even if prevailing opinions change, they can't bring these regulations back in the future? This seems...majorly problematic.

Edit: The Ars article [1] expands on this a bit further:

> The Senate today used its power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking "shall have no force or effect" and to prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future.

I'm not well versed in the Congressional Review Act and what its invocation means here, but I've seen commentary to the effect of "The FCC won’t be able to try again, even if Congress gets back on board".

[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/03/senate-votes-to-...


Congress can do pretty much anything it likes - within the Constitutional powers, of course. But FCC can't make regulation that Congress just shut down again, at least not until the Congress changes its mind. Otherwise it'd be useless for the Congress to intervene at all - Congress shuts down one set of rules, and then FCC enacts another one which is pretty much the the same? Of course, if Congress changes their mind they can pass legislation that enables FCC to make such rules again.


I am pretty sure that is standard language for any legislation that is changing an administrative rule for an agency.

If they didn't include that language, the FCC could just re-implement the rule tomorrow. The language saying they can't enact similar protections means that it would take a new act of congress to allow the FCC to pass a rule like this.


Congress can still make changes, they are just preventing administrative changes. It's not weird or scary, it's how the US system works, the executive branch is given authority by legislation and legislation can take it away.


> Once a rule is thus repealed, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same, "unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule" (5 U.S. Code § 801(b)(2))

The CRA allows the rules to be recreated if given explicit authorization from a law by congress. So they can be put back in place, just not as easily.


That's encouraging at least. Obviously this doesn't make the ruling any less serious, but it doesn't sound as permanent as most of these articles make it sound.


It's as permanent as you can make law without amending the Constitution.


[EDIT]: (deleted)

Sorry, I misread that s/he was talking about the bill rather than the administrative rule change that happened first.


No, Congress is removing the FCC's authority to make rules on this topic. It would take an act of congress to give it back.


Sorry, I misread that this was talking about the bill rather than the administrative rule change that happened first.


Responding to your edit, it depends on what the speaker means by Congress being on board.

New legislation can override this resolution. New legislation could completely reconstitute the FCC, or eliminate it entirely.


Not entirely sure how this works, but there could be a new bill that reverses this to allow them. This bill prevents them from independently creating "enacting" similar protections. A future bill could cancel this provision, or enact new protections that could be enforced.

Either way, it is frightening to think about this passing.


This is always something that's baffled me, mostly since it seems totally counter to how the democratic process should work (apart from the fact that it seems totally petty). Does that mean that this resolution would have to be repealed in order for the FCC to make similar policies again? That sounds less like "never enact policies like this" and more like "now it'll take one extra round of voting before new privacy-related policies can be enacted".


Congress cannot make any law that Congress cannot unmake. Congress can, of course, prevent a regulatory agency from doing something, because the regulatory agency's power to make law derives from Congress's delegation of that authority to the agency. (I'll leave aside the discussion of how that's totally unconstitutional.)


Neo-cons seek to make systematic changes like this as their strategy.


Conservatism in the US hypothetically is supposed to encompass the preservation of people's privacy from the interference from others - including by the government, individuals, and companies.

But I think it's very telling that when companies interests and individuals interests conflict, then the favor recently has been towards the "freedom" of the companies at the expense of the individual. It's a shame.


"Conservatives" in the US should not be confused with the actual definition of "conservative." Nor should the republican party be confused with people that care about Republican ideals.


It's not just label confusion, it's an active contradiction in the principles most of them constantly espouse vs. the actual policies they enact.

But it is a little silly to have a "republican" party in countries (USA, France) where the monarchy is long gone.


American conservatism is conserving a different political history than you find in Europe. "Way back when", America was a constitutional republic with a distinct federal government with distinct separation of powers. That's the "good old days" that are conserved in America.

So it's not "silly" except that the same word "conservative" means different things in different contexts. Though that's true of the words "liberal", "democratic", "federal", and "republican" for that matter.


True Scotsmen should not be confused with real Scotsmen.


When you say "Republican ideals" do you mean lower case 'r' republicanism vs Republicans?

It's a pet peeve of mine. Same when people use democratic vs Democratic (party) interchangeably.


I think it's a little subtler than that. I think they believe that money == freedom, and the more money you have, the freer you are. Anything that gets in the way of making money prevents freedom.


Why did you stick an 'e' on that last word?


My mistake ;)


This does not restrict your freedom because you can still encrypt your traffic and obfuscate your browsing history easily using free and open source software.


Freedom is the right of all people, not just tech-savvy ones.


You do not have to be tech-savvy to install a browser addon.


Yeah, you do. Tor is not plug-and-play. It requires some degree of savvy to operate. Not a lot, but above the average.

But that's actually irrelevant. You shouldn't have to lift a finger to protect your basic rights. You ought to get them by default.


Well this is kinda fucking disgusting. I had previously thought lawmakers may simply not understand the issue they're ruling on - which is too common. I don't understand why this needs to remove the ability for the FCC to do it's job. To curtail it's ability to enact similar privacy protections in the future.

How could anyone in good conscience think this is good for the people?

Dear god fuck it all.

(let's not even consider how an ISP analyzing traffic to sell would have an unfair advantage to other advertising agents like Facebook)


>How could anyone in good conscience think this is good for the people?

They don't. The politicians who voted for this only represent the interests of the lobbyists and financial backers who 'donated/bribed' them during their campaign. Politicians don't care about the will of the people at all, several studies have shown this.

Before America can accomplish much of anything--we need real and substantial campaign finance reform. Too many corporations are able to influence elections and it's not good for democracy. I would think after this last election, democrats could run on this as a national security issue, if they were smart but no one has ever accused them of that.


I'm not sure campaign finance reform would do much. Look what we saw in this last election; regular everyday people (generally the non-urban ones) have poor education and don't understand the issues. All they care about is the "Mexicans", abortion, guns, which bathroom a tiny number of people use, etc., and they'll vote for politicians who tell them what they want to hear on these issues. These pols can easily convince their constituents that things like this new law are good, because it'll reduce "unnecessary regulation" that "strangles companies" and "reduces competition" and "drives prices up". The voters are too short-sighted and stupid to remember all this and notice when, in fact, prices just go up and privacy protections disappear as a result of laws like this, so the pols won't be held accountable.

Campaign finance reform won't help this kind of thing. Just look at Dave Brat in Virginia; he won over Mark Cantor, despite Cantor being a long-time incumbent with a huge war chest and lobbyist backing and Brat being a little-known Tea Party candidate. Or just look at Trump: how much did he spend on campaigning? Virtually nothing. Hillary was the one spending obscene amounts of money on campaigning, and she was horribly unpopular and lost.

The problem isn't money, it's the voters.


Its voters for sure, but it is also the money, and the media. 24 hour cables news need content! And dog bless Trump if he does not provide a sh*tload of it. It has been reported that received over 2 billion USD in free press coverage.

Given enough money you can convince enough people of things like trickle down economics work, or climate change is a Chinese hoax. So indeed voters need to wise up( not going to happen IMHO ), we need to have less money in politics ( right ), or pigs could fly out my ass. I am just hoping that our AI overlords will be kind.


A good first step would be to revoke `Citizens United`


But without the huge donations and constant lobbying, wouldn't the politicians be more inclined to enact legislation that favored their voters over corporate interests.


No, because the corporate interests control all the jobs and that's what voters care about more than anything.


Much of the funding behind the tea party movement, right wing media, “think tanks”, the armies of pundits on every cable news channel, “grassroots” conservative issue-advocacy organizations (including Citizens United, for instance), anti-Democrat conspiracy books, and so on comes from completely unaccountable and often anonymous billionaires.

Campaign finance laws actually have significant influence on how much money can be spent, how transparent the funding must be, what money can be used for, etc. Media regulations also have a large impact.

A particular fringe world-view doesn’t just pop into significant numbers of voters’ minds out of nothing. It is deliberately tended and promoted by folks with large amounts of money with specific policy goals.

See e.g. this interview with Jane Mayer about Bob Mercer from yesterday, http://www.npr.org/2017/03/22/521083950/inside-the-wealthy-f...


Hillary was not horribly unpopular. She won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. She lost because of only around 200k people.


Hillary was horribly unpopular; saying otherwise is blatantly denying reality. She only won the popular vote (barely) because Trump was so unpopular. She lost because she was so unpopular, causing so many people to either stay home, vote 3rd party, or vote for the also-unpopular Trump, and because of the way the Electoral College works (giving rural states more power per vote).

How many people bothered showing up for Hillary's rallies? That's how you measure popularity and enthusiasm. Hillary didn't have any. People only voted for her because the alternative was viewed as worse.

In the (generally liberal) DC area that I live near, I saw almost no bumper stickers for Hillary. I actually saw far more bumper stickers for Obama than Hillary! Why would I see far more 4 or 8-year-old bumper stickers for Obama than for the current Dem candidate? Because she's unpopular, that's why.

Hillary ran against one of the most unpopular candidates in presidential election history, and she lost. Any other candidate would have easily won. Trump was an outsider, and deeply unpopular even among Republican voters. This should have been an easy election for the Dems to win, but they insisted on running the most unpopular, unpalatable candidate they possibly could have, and that's why they lost.


Vote shaming is probably even more effective than fat shaming.

Hate the game, not the players.


Oh please. The game is rigged, but it's not that rigged. At the end of the day, tens of millions of people voted not just for Trump, but for GOP candidates down the line. Millions of people voted for Hillary in the primaries. We got the people we voted for. We could have voted for other people at all stages of the election (esp. the primaries where it makes the most difference) and we didn't.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erph1L_XwVQ

TL:DW - If I get to choose everyone you can vote for, does it matter how you vote?


Yes, because of two things:

1) it's not one person/group who's choosing who you can vote for. It's a product of the system as a whole, which has competing actors. The GOP does not decide who runs in the Dem races, and vice versa, for instance.

2) you're not as limited in who you vote for as you allege. There are always 3rd-party options. The only reason they never win is because no one votes for them because "they'll never win", a self-fulfilling prophecy, just like believing you'll never succeed and then never trying. If nothing else, voting 3rd-party shows that you cared enough to vote, and didn't like the 2 mainstream choices. If enough people vote that way, one of the 3rd parties will then get more recognition, matching funds, a place at the debates, etc. We've had FPTP voting since the very beginning, but we do NOT have the same political parties that we started out with.


> Politicians don't care about the will of the people at all, several studies have shown this.

Interesting. I was unaware studies had been done on this. Care to share any links?


Not parent but here you go: "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-poli...


Politicians are routinely bought by those with narrow interests.

By coincidence, Planet Money recently did a podcast about automatically filling out tax returns in California:

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/03/22/521132960/episo...

tl;dr: In a pilot, 99% of people preferred the auto-filled returns, but the bill to make it law failed by one vote, because of Intuit and Grover Norquist.


you really don't need studies. look at the polling data of things that get passed. The AHCA is being rushed through despite being wanted by only 17% of the public [0].

0: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/poll-gop-trump-obamaca...


But the health care C level execs are getting big tax cuts, and they are repealing the 3.8% tax on some kind of investment income. So its good for everyone!


There was a study a read (that I can't find now), I think by MIT, that showed there was no correlation between what bills passed in the house/senate and the 'will of the voter' (what people wanted).

Until you took into account money. Then there was a correlation between what was passed and the 'will of the lobbyist'.

Really wish I could find that study again.



I don't know if there are any studies, but the single-digit approval rating of Congress says it quite clearly.


Americans love Congress. The approval ratings are very, very high. The ratings you cite are wrong, because they show the wrong thing: they show what people think of other peoples' Congress members. American voters are very happy with their Congresspeople; that's why they keep re-electing them. They just don't like everyone else's Congress picks (esp. ones in the "other" party).


I don't know if Americans "love" congress, as much as we are just ignorant to who are what congress is. See someone from the other side, hate em, see familiar name on the ballot, vote for em.



Doesn't apply to the Senate.


Interesting angle!


I can't believe Democrats are beating the campaign finance reform angle after Trump. Hello: the candidate with far greater corporate funding lost. Now, big corporations (the New York Times, etc.) are what stand between Trump and his agenda.


You can't think about this like Democrats vs Republicans, They are both bought out by lobbyists. This is people vs corporation.

In the case of Trump, he IS one part of corporate America. He is benefiting himself and his slice of corporate America.

"Now, big corporations (the New York Times, etc.) are what stand between Trump and his agenda."

There are shades here, not as easy a statement to make as you have made.

While trump would definitely scare the American corps because of his protectionist, destabilising economic policy, the republican establishment is still behind a metric ton of the laws/bills etc that are bandied about, and they are corporate owned.

They still have the pockets of the politicians, they just don't like some of the other stuff. The weapons industry as a softball example would be jumping for joy at Trump.

So the corps are not standing between Trump and his agenda, but they definitely would have preferred a normal republican candidate.


> You can't think about this like Democrats vs Republicans, They are both bought out by lobbyists. This is people vs corporation.

Why do the majority of people not recognize this?


How would one go about finding these studies you mentioned?



Why do you keep saying 'the politicians'?

This was a straight party-line vote. There's a single party here working very hard to centralize and corporatize the internet. There's another party working against that.

I have to say I find it a bit hilarious when something like this happens and it's the result of a select, easily identifiable group and Americans then throw their hands up and declare, "The whole system is corrupt!"

I mean come on.


Campaign finance reform is treating the symptom, and you'll never be able to stuff that genie back in the bottle. Like it or not, money and free speech are interfungible (I'm sure that's not a word), you can't control one without harming the other.

Before America can accomplish much of anything, we need a populace that will invest more into choosing a candidate than deciding who has the pithiest attack ad.


So before America can accomplish anything, we need to get a highly educated population that is rich enough to be able to afford the time to research complex local, statewide, and national politics.

There's a hell of a lot of symptoms between us and the goal, and the current system seems to be doing everything it can to prevent us from reaching it (defunding education, defunding healthcare, preventing efforts to get out the vote, gerrymandering).


> So before America can accomplish anything, we need to get a highly educated population that is rich enough to be able to afford the time to research complex local, statewide, and national politics.

Believe it or not, it's not a full-time job. Given that we've seen poll after poll showing that the average voter couldn't pass a 6th grade civics class, but I don't see how cutting education spending is the real problem. We spend plenty on education. If that were the root of the problem then the districts which spend the most money would have the best grades, but there's not a strong correlation there.

We spend money poorly, but we spend plenty. There are a lot of things that could improve the American education system, but one thing has been shown conclusively to not do any good on its own and that's spending more money.


Right, and the voters are happily voting for pols who defund education and healthcare.


Well, my point is, they might be trying to vote otherwise, but gerrymandering and voter suppression prevents them. For example, the American people didn't elect Donald Trump, but he became president.


Let me correct you there: the American people did elect Donald Trump and he became president. Electoral College is the way to get elected, and popular vote has zero impact. That's why nobody who wants to win runs for the popular vote.


The poster you responded to referenced gerrymandering. I believe in that person's view, the gerrymandering is a form of corruption. Surely you believe corruption would result in an unfair election result. Though I would understand if you did not believe that gerrymandering is corruption.

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/15/482150951/understanding-congre...


The electoral college is basically not gerrymandered. In all but two states, everyone in the state is voting in the same electoral college "district" - i.e., the state - and the boundaries of the states were established sufficiently long ago (1912 []) that we can assume they were not deliberately designed to produce a certain electoral outcome today.

[] Two states have been admitted since 1912 - Alaska and Hawaii - but their borders match preexisting borders (the Alaska-Canada border was last altered in 1903).


The college itself is gerrymandering. It was set up to roughly represent population but to have an educated stop gap against a populist winning. With urbanization and different population growth it is now a system of disproportionate representation.


The people who drew state lines hundreds of years ago had no idea what things were going to look like in 2017; that's just stupid. Gerrymandering is drawing district lines to get a certain outcome. The state borders were not drawn to get a certain electoral outcome, they were drawn because of various political and geographic factors that existed in the 1700s. They didn't even have political parties at the time, nor did they even have a country in the eastern seaboard "states", since those were just independent colonies of England and there was no unification whatsoever. The whole "states" thing and unified federal country didn't come around until much later (the colonies were established in the 1600s, the revolution was in 1776).


You know how 10% of counties win elections (see 2008, 2012)? The electoral college is there so that number doesn't become 2%.


First of all, I don't understand how the removal of the electoral college would cause an individual within a certain county to have more voting power, rather than less (wouldn't this be the case? Their "vote" would be equal to any of the other millions of Americans anywhere ? )

Second, I don't understand how in a "no electoral college" universe, the concept of a "county" is even relevant. With every vote being perfectly equal, one would think the balance of power would perfectly equalize across all voters.


The college produces different outcomes than a popular vote - that's true. I also don't think it's a good thing. But gerrymandering is something specific: drawing electoral districts to deliberately produce certain electoral outcomes. It presupposes a system with districts, but is not the same thing.


Thank you for pointing this out. I was not thinking about it at the time and I will remember it for next time.


The GOP senators who won new seats in the Senate disagree with you.

It wasn't voter suppression that caused this result, it was 5+M people more than in 2008 staying at home and not voting.


I believe you are incorrect. I believe in 2008 it was about 132M and in 2016 it was 139M.

http://www.electproject.org/2008g http://www.electproject.org/2016g

I will also note that the poster you're replying to references gerrymandering as one of the causes of the election results not matching the votes; neither of your statements directly refute that.

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/15/482150951/understanding-congre...


For some reason I really thought I saw figures that 5M fewer people voted than in '08. Maybe I'm comparing to '12? I'm too lazy to research this at the moment. However, your own page shows that the voter turnout was 2-3% lower between '08-'16.

As for gerrymandering, that only affects the House races, nothing else. The President isn't affected by that, only by the archaic and undemocratic Electoral College and the way state borders are drawn. The Senate is similar. The GOP swept all three.


I remember hearing the 5M number on the day of the election and maybe the day after, but not all the votes were counted at that point.

It looks like the voter turnout was pretty average. Going back to 1972, the turnout numbers are similar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_St...

Thank you for the reminder about the limitations of gerrymandering!

Senate is 52-48 which doesn't seem like a sweep. This includes two independents which caucus with the Democrats. I think the Democrats actually picked up two seats, which doesn't seem like a sweep either. Also, in your previous comment, you said the GOP won some seats. Which seats were these?

Donald Trump had a victory margin in the bottom 10 of historical elections: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presiden...


Money is not interchangeable with free speech. That's a myth promoted by the moneyholders. Free speech law in the US protects content, not form.

If government can prevent people from rallying near a party convention, government can prevent people from bribing candidates for office.


> Like it or not, money and free speech are interfungible

I know what you mean (interchangeable?), and the problem is that it only goes one way. With money, you can purchase "free speech," e.g. in CA, you can pay signature gatherers a few million to put a proposition on the ballot, because signatures cost a couple bucks apiece. But you can't easily turn free speech into money: 100 million people could send nasty letters to the Koch brothers, and they'd be told to pound sand.


Fair enough, but the more money you have, the more people can hear you and you can't infringe on the ability to spend money in a campaign without infringing, to some extent, on the right to Free Speech.


I do not agree at all that campaign finance reform would be detrimental to free speech. If anything, it'd be a boom for free speech, because you wouldn't have a few ultra-rich people dominating the conversation. Limit everyone to $1000 per fiscal tax year of political donations. This can be given to candidates, or to PACs. The wealthy will still get more, because they're more likely to afford $1000, but average people won't be drowned out.


>How could anyone in good conscience think this is good for the people?

You assume these people care about "what is good for the people." Like CNN and MSNBC, claiming "R's say this, D's say this, I can't tell what the truth is!"

There is the record, there is history. One party is aligned with their corporate donors more than the other. While both have issues, on issues involving corporate power and influence, R's are clearly on the side of corporations and wealthy donors who keep them in power.

EDIT: there is no need for being fair because everyone else does this, but many times, D's end up being "republican-lite" because they believe it will appeal to R's and also appeal to their (the D's) donors; but there is no question as to which side the R's lie on.


I was an elected Democratic National Committee member and I can assure you corporate influence has infiltrated the D party too. I was part of a group of a few hundred people to receive a private Dave Matthews concert in the mountains, paid for by a mountain top removal company.


I disagree. The political elites in both parties serve the interests of the capital holders. It's just that each party targets their propaganda efforts to appear as if they don't serve those interests at different audiences.

They've each done a very good job at convincing people the other team is pure evil, though.


Really? Huh. If it's all propaganda, then why did Democrats enact the legislation that protected our privacy? Why did the FCC implement Net Neutrality under Democrats? Why are the Republicans undoing that? Pretending there's no difference between the two parties may give you a way to feel superior to both sides, but it does little else.

I'm not saying both parties don't have issues, but if people consistently voted for the person or party that was less evil, we'd eventually end up with good candidates. However, people like you throw up their hands and say "Oh, well, both sides are bad." Yeah, they are. Like too much salt and too much arsenic are both bad. But there are matters of degree here.

The Republicans that want to sell us all out to multinationals, ban religious minorities, and deny science are in power right now. The Democrats aren't perfect. If that's the bar they have to meet before people like you will stop saying "Well, both sides are bad, whaa, whaa, whaa" then whatever. But don't feel like you're smart because you see yourself as above the petty fray. Quite the opposite is true.

In the real world, one party is doing the right thing and protecting our privacy and one party isn't. It's not all propaganda.


  why did Democrats enact the legislation that protected our privacy?
They didn't. In fact, it was the Obama administration that reclassified broadband carriers such that they are no longer under FTC jurisdiction (see DannyBee's comment, current top comment), making a new (FCC) rule necessary.

This pending rule change is not in effect at all yet; it was only put through 3 weeks after the 2016 election and wouldn't have taken effect until next December.

Had the Obama administration cared about privacy, they could have timed the rule change and the FTC authority removal to take effect at the same time.

[EDIT]: changed "a week before the 2016 election" (a different, significant rule change) to 3 weeks after.


> Really? Huh. If it's all propaganda, then why did Democrats enact the legislation that protected our privacy?

Because it serves the interests of the tech companies that support democrats. Ask yourself why the FCC didn't make it illegal for everyone to profit off customers' private information.


Propaganda efforts are one thing, results are another.



I think the better term analysis from my PoV:

* Republican prefers smaller government and prefers more conservative approach by eliminating regulations

* Democrats actually had all the major corporations' support during the 2016 election, but they try to appeal both sides, with more liberal agenda and mixing the corporation interest.

Don't forget each party is divided into:

* extreme conservative

* liberal

* conservative

of their own party's ideology.


> Republican prefers smaller government and prefers more conservative approach by eliminating regulations

This is a claim, but rarely actually seen. More money is thrown at "defense", while less is put into supporting the American people.

What if we instead of building new fighter jets, we spent that money on fixing out infrastructure, getting faster internet to everyone's homes, better education for our children?

The military industrial complex in the US is structured such that every state and by extension Senator and Congressperson, wants to vote for things like new tanks and planes, because it creates/preserves jobs in their districts. But this has little long term benefit to their districts. Wouldn't it be better to invest that money into the future of their districts to improve the lives of the people there?

It's disingenuous to say the least the R's prefer smaller government. What they prefer is less regulation and redirection of tax money into corporations.


> This is a claim, but rarely actually seen. More money is thrown at "defense", while less is put into supporting the American people.

It's not even thrown well at defense. The army wanted to close certain bases and centralize others here in the U.S. It's not like the the army is entirely clueless about importance of operations. They figured they would be able to have the same capabilities, but lower staff and operation count. But you know what congressman/senator is going to allow job / industry to ship away from their district?

You get the same story in weapons and tech. They want to have fewer but more focused efforts when it comes to next-gen development. Same thing, but this time it's corp jobs in the district vs local army jobs.


> Republican prefers smaller government and prefers more conservative approach by eliminating regulations

No, they don't. They prefer consolidated power.


Don't over think this.

Electeds care about being reelected.

Voters vote based on identity.

"Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government"

http://amzn.to/2nsPnsP

If you want change, then you have to organize.


What's weird to me is Republicans say regulation is bad - and don't get hurt by a _lack_ of regulation. How can people in that party be so gung-ho to make themselves vulnerable? They're not all part of the 1%. Surely they know someone who suffers by undoing regulation.

These people can't all live in the same bubble.


> What's weird to me is Republicans say regulation is bad

What's really weird is that Republicans love markets and hate regulation, but don't seem to realize that every market is created by regulation. There's a complete lack of nuance among vocal Republicans.


Markets are definitely not created by regulation. Markets exist even in the absence of a functional government at all.


Any definition of "market" relevant to this discussion necessitates property rights, which require a functional government and a bare minimum level of regulations. We're talking about the Republican party, not prehistoric tribes, so a nebulous theoretical definition of "markets" that is easily satisfied by two people trading seashells is entirely unhelpful.


Open markets require standards, property rights, fair and impartial judicial system, currency, etc.

Without government, there can be no open markets.

Perhaps you're thinking of black markets.


They should get rid of the regulations that prevent customers of these ISPs from banding together and suing them.

Hah!


Its the "good cop, bad cop" routine.


They may think most constituents don't care about privacy at all, so why protect it? Or maybe they think the free market will somehow fix it? In any case, Americans should show them that they are actually interested in their privacy: https://act.eff.org/action/don-t-let-congress-undermine-our-...


I worked on election integrity issues for a decade. Verify the machines work correctly, protect the secret ballot, keep admins from purging the voter rolls illegally, etc.

My opponents had (effectively) infinite time and resources. They will forward their agenda relentlessly. Year after year. Non stop.

To "win", I had to show up EVERY SINGLE DAY for EVERY SINGLE BATTLE FRONT.

Well. One day I stayed home. After ten years of preventing internet voting (in my state), the legislature suspended the rules, fast-tracked the internet voting bill (no public hearings), and it passed unanimously.

I asked my representatives, who had previously committed to never passing such a bill, "WTF?"

"Well, we didn't hear any opposition."

(Fruit flies have longer attention spans.)

--

What I'm trying to say is that people do care. I traveled my entire state and had broad public support for my platform (use "citizen owned" open source software, protect voter privacy, universal voter registration). But we're outclassed, outgunned, and outmaneuvered.

You cannot expect anyone anywhere do The Right Thing.

But if you bring the heat, the powerful will see the light.

The only times I got my way is when I brought pressure. Build coaltions, fill public hearings, letters to the editors, endorsements, resolutions, orchestrate protests, etc.

This book is a very good primer.

  http://www.becomingacitizenactivist.org
I also strongly recommend the Camp Wellstone training for organisers.

  http://wellstone.org


This is my biggest concern about various "moneyed people/orgs with agendas." If their sole job is to push their agenda, it is incredibly asymmetric. How do you win against something like that if all it takes is slipping just once when they are waiting to pounce?


Offense beats defense.

The counter (rock, paper, scissors) is to have an affirmative agenda.

If I had to do it all over, I would have pushed for comprehensive reform and an OSS stack. But young me wasn't very teachable.

The Election Verification Network is making all the right moves, in this regard. Strategy vs tactics, marathon vs sprint, coalition building, etc.


Is this new? or Alaska?

It looks that only Alaska has internet voting beyond corner cases (military and citizens abroad) whose votes don't get counted anyway except in statistically tied races.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/interne...


Washington State. Overseas voters can now cast ballots electronically, eg fax and email.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5171&Year=2011

--

Aside: Our conservation district elections, which are self-administered (what could go wrong?), permit casting ballots online.


They know Americans don't care. What percentage of people use services that are roughly this invasive? Google/Bing/Yahoo search, Gmail/hotmail, android, grocery discount cards, any social network, amazon, etc. etc. Probably nearly 95% of the country.

Might as well let AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time-Warner get in on the google and facebook anti-privacy smorgasbord.


The justification is that less regulation will create more profits which will supposedly create more jobs (aka trickle down economics). Luckily for the politicians this justification dovetails perfectly with what the lobbyists with the deepest pockets want.


Their argument is that Internet privacy is the FTC's job, not the FCC's job.

This raises the question: Have they set up the FTC to do this job before taking away responsibility from the FCC?


No they have not, as AFAIK they are still common carriers outside the FTC's regulation.


> good for the people

The White House seems to be full of people compromised to the Russians. But the voters are happy to have defeated the real enemy, their fellow Americans.


That may be upside. Something needs to counter Facebook.


What a terrible cure that would be. Whatever evils you believe Facebook to be doing to the internet, at least they can't inspect every packet that leaves your router.


While I strongly disagree with the outcome, let's be very precise on what was actually done.

Today the Senate passed, with 50R in support, 46D and 2I opposing, 2R (including Rand Paul, a listed co-sponsor) abstaining, a very brief resolution [1]. The wording of the resolution is reproduced below:

JOINT RESOLUTION

Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services".

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services" (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect."

This undoes the 73-page publication [2] published on 2016-12-02 by the FCC, most of which took effect 2017-01-03, some parts later on 2017-03-02, both after the election and one of them after the inauguration.

I sympathize with what's at stake, but the victorious party's Senate issues a one-line rebuke of a sweeping ruleset coming out of the very tail end of the other party's lame duck session. While I support the Democratic position on this issue, I can't help but feel that the timing was a deliberate provocation timed to make the Republicans look bad. As entirely expected [3], this FCC ruling was indeed rebuked by the Senate and it now goes to the House, but the current FCC chair would've probably discontinued it under his leadership anyway.

[1] https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/sjres34/BILLS-115sjres34p... [2] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/02/2016-28... [3] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/s94


This rebuke rests on the fallacy that because this was allowed before, it's acceptable -- which it simply is not. The status quo is terrible and that means that continuing with the status quo is terrible. The new rules were meant to belatedly restrain the ISPs. They have done invasive things and only a naif would think they'll stop now: see https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/03/five-creepy-things-you... (in fact, they're reportedly developing technology to allow broader collection and packaging of data.)

"the very tail end of the other party's lame duck session" -- not lame duck, this was in October, when Democrats were rather hopeful of electoral gains.

"the current FCC chair would've probably discontinued it under his leadership anyway." And in that case that would have been the news. This isn't about the horse race and whose-team-is-winning! It's about whether this situation is right or wrong.


Are you sure the new FCC chair would have been able to remove those rules without the support of the rest of the commission?


Thanks for the detail, I didn't know this was all lame duck activity. Not worth getting all hyped up for this.


I was sick of having to install VPN software on all of my devices, and couldn't on some of the older ones, so I put the VPN inside the router itself. Plug for one of my side businesses https://easyvpnrouter.com/

You can do it yourself, but it's a big hassle, maybe someone finds this useful.


Off-topicness aside, I see no proof that you are not selling spyware in a box


As I say on the FAQ page, all of it uses open source software, and you can SSH onto the box and see it. I don't open source the methods of installing and configuring it because that's the whole business. This is no different than you buying a flashed router from anywhere else, could always be spyware in your hardware.


Right, especially if you are selling it as something to maintain privacy, I'd like to see the source code.


It uses vanilla OpenWRT. The app to configure it is just react native and speaks OpenWRT API's. The only thing I could open source are 1) How I flash the router and configure it, which is a hassle and I'm not going to share, and 2) The source code to the react native app, which you can decompile and look at if you want.

If you want to see the open source of the router software itself, go to https://openwrt.org/ and dive in


Being able to see source code and certifying the binaries running on the machine are not the same thing.


I've wanted to setup my router with my VPN, but the only thing stopping me is that, AFAIK, some services won't work with most big VPN services - like Netflix.

I use iVPN and can't stream Netflix while connected.


I have a private Streisand server [0] running for that reason. I got tired of dealing with most of the IPs for big VPN services being blocked on a lot of websites.

[0]: https://github.com/jlund/streisand


To answer you both:

I host mine on a DigitalOcean instance. The Streisand installer (bash script + Ansible playbook) has a number of built-in deployment targets (Amazon, DigitalOcean, Google, Linode, and Rackspace at the time I did mine), and you can further select which region you want. It costs $5/mo, though there would be a cost for bandwidth overage if you hit your limit for the instance size.

I have not done a speed test on it as I have always been constrained by my local connection more than the server's end. I use it only when traveling at the moment.


I would be interested in this as well.

1. Where are you hosting it, and do you ever get blocked from certain services or websites?

2. How much does it cost? Is it a fixed cost, or bandwidth-dependent?

3. What do your down/up speeds look like when connected?


Where do you run it? Some of those same sites that block VPNs also block AWS IP blocks, and may also block other cloud providers as well.


Not just Netflix (where it makes some sense because they are forced by content distributors to enforce geo-fencing of content), but I have had random websites stop working on VPN. Often I've given up on a website thinking it's a bug on their end, before realizing that it's not working because I am on VPN.

Maybe they do it to prevent anonymous attacks or something, I dunno, but it's quite annoying because they fail in very vague and unclear ways.


If you aren't already using a non-logging vpn for all traffic, all the more reason to switch now. Probably preaching to the choir here. But it's so simple to setup and use one, much less intimidating than most people realize who have never used a VPN before. Once you start using one you practically feel naked whenever connecting without it, even at home.


Is there a way to whitelist domains to skip the VPN? Like Netflix, Amazon, Amazon Video, YoutTube etc. I don't mind if my ISP knows I'm there, but everything else goes through the VPN? Specifically with OpenVPN?


Both DD-WRT and asuswrt for routers have policy based routing so you can selectively include/exclude traffic from the VPN connection.


Expect random online purchases to be declined or stalled due to IP reputation based fraud detection.


I live in the UK and this happens to me a lot. The combination of whitelisting third party javascript and using a VPN exiting through Finland seems like a brilliant recipe to trip up fraud detection.


Based in the UK, but this hasn't happened to me once and I usually set my VPN to Sweden or Netherlands.


Recommendations? Last time I thought about it, PIA was the recommended service but I know this stuff can change on a weekly basis. Edit: In US, not opposed to loosing speed going overseas, I've got more than enough. Also, how do people typically pay?


https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart/ seems like the most comprehensive way to pick one.


I've been using AirVPN for a couple years and love it. They allow you to use OpenVPN instead of a proprietary client, which is nice.


I am a big fan of PIA and have been a customer for over 2 years now. I pay $40/year and it works great on my MacBook and iPhone.


How do you make sure a VPN doesn't log anything, other than promises ?


Run it yourself, or have it managed by someone you trust.

As a massively inferior but better-than-nothing fallback, contractual agreements.

Otherwise, you can't.


If you are running your own private VPN, how is that any different than your normal connection? All you are doing is basically switching ISPs. All of the traffic can still be tracked back to you, the owner of the VPN server.


Depends where you install the VPN... https://prq.se/?p=services would be a good choice


I trust (ex.) AWS or Digital Ocean more than AT&T or Comcast.


If you run it yourself, what the heck is the point? The ISP of the VPN will log you.


To both you and cortesoft: ISPs (and the countries they reside in) don't all share everything. They don't all have the same, or even compatible, rules, legal regimes, or economic interests. In particular, the economic drivers of last-mile ISPs vs backbone providers to major data centers are vastly different.

Therefore routing across multiple independent networks (which is what a VPN is) actually does provide some additional privacy protection because it means that coordination between multiple entities is now required to see the same information that would have been available to one before, and it changes which entity with which economic interests can see the most.

Essentially, it's a competition hack. There is massive competition (and customer responsiveness) when you get close to the core, but very little for most people at the last mile. So a VPN allows you to shift you effective entry point to an arbitrary provider, and that can be quite helpful.


I also wonder what impact having a US-based VPN provider vs. an EU one makes with regards to jurisdiction, privacy laws, etc.


How can you make sure level3, AWS, DO or anyone else doesn't log everything too ;)


I would expect that they do. I'm not really offended that my traffic is logged by someone and could be traced back to me by someone with the time and resources (law enforcement?).

But assuming that AWS/DO, and their uplink providers (L3, etc) have the goal of selling reliable servers and internet, and aren't building up consumer ad profiles to sell me stuff/sell my data if it looks like one server or IP is maybe a VPN.


You can't as well; you're just moving trust some place else. Choose your own poison :)


You can't. Trust is trust.


Is there an adequate (or easy?) solutions for gamers? I'm ok with a bit of extra latency (30ms -> 50ms lets say), but I'm not at all ok with that for say Counter Strike.


There are several ways to do this. The best way would be to use a router that lets you route. Create the VPN tunnel as always on. Set routing policy based on destination. Gameserver.com goes out the ISP direct, everything else goes out the VPN. You can add additional tunnels and routs as needed but the building block is having a real router that lets you set routes. Personally, I have a static VPN to work, a tor tunnel, VPN to personal offsite infrastructure and an everything else tunnel. I set routes so my traffic goes the the right place automatically, for myself and anyone else in my house.


How do you figure out what to set routing policy for? You say gameserver.com, but how do I figure that out for CSGO vs Overwatch? What about games where you're connected to a friend's computer hosting a match, such as 7 days to die or potentially minecraft?


You basically have to make a white list. It's not an easy thing to do and I don't know any way to do it dynamically.

Sometimes, the only way to make a whitelist is to see what's not working and add it to the list.


can you share more information about which router you use and possibly a link to instructions on how to set this up?


I run a custom made freebsd pfsense box, before that it was linux with iptables.

For the iptables box, I put a second 4 port intel pro 1000 nic in my normal host, ran a VM with PCI pass through so the VM controlled the nic and used that as a router.

I think there are purpose built routers out there that will do this but it will depend on the router on how you set this up. You'd have to do research on this. Pretty sure the ubiquity routers will let you do things like this. I've done similar on open-wrt.


A VPN will always add some latency; you can just turn it off when gaming


There are VPN services with gaming modes or that are built primarily for low latency gaming. This may sound ludicrous at first but if the routing between you and the game server is poor or optimized for price or bandwidth more than latency, then such a VPN service could indeed lower latency. I don't know if they do but under the right circumstances it's possible.


I'm not a networking expert, but I do think it would feasible on an open router platform to program such that certain traffic & whitelisted sites do not use VPN (e.g. your gaming traffic) whereas everything else is routed to VPN. Can't swear by it though, and seems like it may be a complicated setup / maintenance.


Seconding this. I do a lot of uploading of photos, gaming, etc. What's a realistic solution? When should I have my VPN on or off? What about when I'm on my phone on wifi? What about when I'm on my phone on data?


I'm sure it varies by provider/location, but the one I am with is decently priced and if I do a bandwidth test its only about 5MBPS slower when connected compared to when I am not. I forget what the upload was, but it was good enough for me.


Too slow, I can't find a VPN that can match my bandwidth.


There are no technological solutions for sociopolitical problems.


That's true long-term, but not short-term.


[flagged]


That's true short-range, but not long-range.


That depends on how much engineering goes into the delivery mechanism.


Force dissipates roughly r^2 from the event, but yes there are lots and lots of clever ways to reduce r.


Just stick 5 to the front of a Humvee and you're good to go!


Barrett M82?


I haven't seen any mention of COPPA here. I would think that selling a child's internet habits would constitute a violation .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Online_Privacy_Pr...


How much does HTTPS circumvent this? In theory the ISP would only know what domain you were on, but not what content you were viewing, correct?


Sure, but still, which domains a person uses can say a lot about them. Not to mention ISPs have access to a wealth of other information about their customers including physical location (down to the address, they bill them)


Unless you have a friendly local ISP, I strongly suggest using a third-party DNS provider as well. OpenDNS is lovely for this, or piggy-backing on one that you know actually returns valid results (and doesn't sell the logs) is good.

If you're already a Google user, use theirs - they are still part of the surveillance-entertainment complex, but at least they don't lie about DNS.


An ISP can still see the sites you browse, even if you use HTTPS everywhere and don't use their DNS.

For shared HTTPS hosting (1 IP serving multiple domains), SNI (the domain) is sent in cleartext so the server can pick which configuration to use (SSL cert, etc). For sites that don't use SNI, they can still see you browsed there because without SNI, 1 IP = 1 domain.


You'll also need to use dnscurve. Setup an RPI as your local DNS resolver using dnscurve and have your router hand out your rpi as your lan's DNS resolver. None of this matters if you rent your router from your isp


I need a tutorial on setting up privacy protections against an ISP. Any recommendations?


No doubt, seems like there's a lot of opportunity to set up some clear-cut guides for dummies like me to protect ourselves. Kinda surprised there isn't a general guide from a VPN provider, would be a great opportunity to both upsell their services and promote whatever their staff (probably) care a great deal about (internet privacy).


> I strongly suggest using a third-party DNS provider as well.

I don't know the exact equipment and mechanisms used by ISPs today, but it's extremely likely that the surveillance works just based on sniffing every DNS packet, not just those sent to ISP resolvers.

Someone with a better knowledge of the current state of the art is invited to comment :)


But wouldn't your ISP have IPs that you connected to? Then it could do reverse DNS lookup and they have a domain. It's true that there can be multiple domains attached to single IP, but it does not change much.


Nit pick: Billing address and physical location can easily be different.

I'd expect the ISP to know where their wires go though. Unless they're wireless.


Even then, they probably know, albeit at lower precision.


Correct. They can tell what ip you're talking to, but no idea the content nor can they modify it.

Unless I'm missing something obvious, I don't really understand the general HN reaction here. I use https everywhere.


You have HTTPS between advertiser and you. Advertiser then requests the name associated with your IP.

That's all they need.


That is an interesting scheme. I feel like the same thing could be done by asking Amazon Prime or Google or Netflix too though. (Who is singed into this ip? Who has the cookie/session id)


I dunno, would you be comfortable with your ISP bundling you into a cohort because you made enough requests to pornhub's servers between 6 and 8PM?


If you knew someone in particular worked as a member of the CIA/NSA or as a politician, couldn't you (possibly unknowingly) sell their personal browsing history to a foreign adversary (and give that adversary leverage over the individual)?


Or someone who is a sysadmin and works on the power grid, or someone who is a technician at a huge datacenter, or someone with admin rights on the corporate network of Boeing, Lockheed, or, or...


As if we don't have enough snooping going on. Now ISPs want to sell behavioral profiles. In a sense they are worse than Facebook and others who hoard such profiles.

In the case of the later, users at least have a choice to dump FB and use privacy respectful services. And FB collects what users do in regards to FB. With ISPs, not only they sit on the main pipe and can do deep inspection of all your traffic, users most often have no choice (at best a workaround like VPN, which isn't free and degrades performance). Crooks who voted for this must be same ones who advocate for police state.


> In a sense they are worse than Facebook and others who hoard such profiles.

In every sense this is worse than Facebook and others, especially considering your second paragraph.


Was looking at setting up a PiHole to kill ads on my home network anyway - maybe it's time to just get a better router that I can do that on and hook up to my VPN provider in one box. Anyone got any suggestions?


I've had good luck blocking ads on my Asus RT-AC87U running MerlinWRT. It can block ads by installing AB-solution and also supports VPN both to your network from elsewhere and for routing your entire WAN through VPN if desired. https://www.ab-solution.info and http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca


+1 for MerlinWRT, it's great. Easy to install and let's you do some awesome things vs. stock ASUS firmware. The OpenVPN client is pretty powerful too. Using policy-based routing, you can send some traffic to the VPN and other to your normal WAN.


This is what I'm thinking. We can't rely on our government to do the right thing so we need to do it ourselves.


Time to buy a VPN service from a country that's reasonably sane.

I'll gladly sacrifice money and latency for privacy.


ISPs have historically been granted certain protections due to the fact that they are simply providing the the delivery mechanism. Once they start inspecting and logging user data I believe those protections should be removed. What about HIPPA or other protections for PII? They are no longer simply a service provider if they log my medical details when I go to use my health care provider's website.


Someone should start a project to gather and share as much information on the lawmakers as possible within the new legal bounds of what is now allowed.


So if I ask my ISP if they are selling my data do they have to admit it? Or can they now do it in secret?


They'll say they are always striving to provide the best consumer experience.

AKA they would probably sell your dog to you if they thought they could get away with it.


>So if I ask my ISP if they are selling my data do they have to admit it

No.

More often than not, you'll get a hand-wavy and/or misleading answer.


So does this mean I'll soon be able to go and buy the internet history of all Republican lawmakers? Cause that sounds fun...


That's what I was thinking too. I mean they're making it legal, so...


This isn't even about privacy only, at stake are also things like "supercookies" inserted by ISPs.

It's quite unbelievable that you could try sending a bitstring over IP and have the ISP change that, legally. It's like USPS ripping up mail and occasionally adding some advertisements or rewriting your text.


"Money doesn't talk, it swears."

"It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)", by Bob Dylan

So everyone should use VPNs. One can allow direct non-VPN access to particular sites, such as Netflix, in firewall rules.


Here is Senator Flake's explanation:

https://www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/3/op-ed-f...

He says he just wants to go back to "the FTC’s successful sensitivity-based framework".

Is he wrong? Is it spin?

Jeff Flake is my senator and I honestly like him on so many issues. I'm very confused by this and trying to get to the bottom of it.


Flake's article is full of spin. The FCC declaring ISPs common carriers wasn't about "stealing" regulatory control over privacy from the FTC, it was the only way they could make headway on net neutrality. If Congress wanted to give responsibility for this back to the FTC, that's what they should be voting on, this doesn't do that. Using the rollback is just lazy.

Edit: Oh, and Telecom Services was the largest donor industry to Flake's leadership PAC (not necessarily corruption, donors give money to politicians who already agree with them too).

https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?type=P&c...


I can't understand how there's anything that Jeff Flake does that you can like. The only good thing about Jeff Flake in my opinion is that he has almost no chance of reelection because even most of his own constituents can't stand him.


I wonder how ISPs would react to a script/app that generates a ton of DNS noise.


M-x spook

still works on some versions of emacs (the default mac one anyway).

It was designed to throw off email surveillance, dated terms though. More details here: https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/Ma...


I made an Ask HN related to this earlier that got no traction [0]. Due to this regulation repeal, I don't consider VPN's optional anymore. I asked people to share their VPN setups. I'd like to have my router route my traffic through one.

0: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13942059


Employers will start purchasing your browsing history if this passes?


I think this could set an interesting change in motion.

Assuming ISPs start selling their costumer's browsing behaviors I imagine we'll soon see a "marketplace" for selling of this style of information. This could be a win for startups as now they will have an easy place to sell the types of information they collect about users who have signed up for their service.

It used to be a notion that "if you aren't paying for a service you are the product being sold".

Now you can start to assume that your usage of a service or even any program you install on your device will in effect result in information about you being sold.


These marketplaces already exist via DMPs and data brokers like Axciom, Neustar, etc.

There are cookie onboarding companies like LiveRamp, etc. that partner with companies and apps to load their cookie on login, map it to a hashed email, collect geo data, etc. and then resell that audience to these companies and advertisers to target/retarget against.

A surprising amount of that happens behind the scenes in apps where you'd have no reason to suspect they were doing that (the infamous "flashlight app requesting tons of permissions" is one example), and no real way of auditing it short of monitoring your traffic for calls to their servers.

I've heard rates around ~$8 CPM for each unique email-mapped user/mo (they pay you monthly even if it is the same user in Month 1 and Month 2 because the point is resetting the cookie that may have been previously wiped). Obviously various factors impact that pricing.

Adobe is also making big moves in that marketplace space for their Marketing Cloud [1].

[1] https://marketing.adobe.com/resources/help/en_US/aam/c_marke...


Imagine how valuable some users' history will be on the market. If I am an ISP and I know that the Zuckerberg household uses my service, that could prove very profitable for me.


Two days ago I was searching on Google for a model of car. About ten minutes later I get an email from my bank about their car loans. Very creepy!

I guess we can expect worse than that now?


Want to hear something creepier? I was looking to buy a car a couple of years ago, and was checking out a bunch of car dealerships that were adjacent to each other. Shortly after I decided to return home (or perhaps as I started to leave the area, can't recall), I received a promotional SMS from my phone carrier about special car deals.

People forgot why privacy is important and why keeping records is very dangerous and shouldn't be carelessly, if at all, unless there is a genuine need for it.

Unfortunately, and I resent having to say this, I think humanity will need a new lesson before things can get better.


Does anyone have a neutral explanation of what this is? Does this affect an ISP's ability to pursue someone who is accused of IP piracy?



That does nothing for traffic analysis. Your ISP has the destinations for everywhere you go online, that information over time is itself valuable.


If someone is concerned with their ISP knowing the sites they visit, they can use TOR or a VPN to re-route that traffic elsewhere.

There is no way to avoid this.

The way the internet works right now, someone at some point has to know which server you want to connect to. It's your ISP or your VPN provider or the TOR nodes you're connected to, or some other lesser-known program that obfuscates your identity.


Much less valuable then what I'm doing there.


Obfuscate usage by blasting random requests out. Use about 100x the data your family normally uses.


It's hard to generate realistic data which can't be easily rejected with basic statistical techniques, and that also runs into the other problem that most large ISPs have or are introducing monthly quotas and traffic shaping. Most people wouldn't run a service like this and the ones who do would likely stop as soon as it interfered with their actual usage.


> approve a joint resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission's privacy rules from going into effect

So wait, are these new rules that would have gone into effect, or is this repealing old existing rules?


No effect until December 2017 at the earliest (there are complex notification requirements that may not be met by then).


This simple pass/fail measurement really has to go. Bills can contain way, way, way too much stuff and cause way too much damage to be simply accepted as all or nothing.

What if bills could only implement 100% of what they say after receiving 100% of the vote? And if a bill splits 50/50 (as this one roughly did), the rule could be: tough, now you may only implement 50% of what you asked for; what will that 50% be?

It should be obvious by now that the political party system tends to produce results that consider approximately 2 viewpoints instead of those of 100 senators or a million constituents. And it should be equally obvious that the election of representatives pretty much hands four years worth of arbitrary bills to the majority, counter-arguments be damned apparently.


The bill we're talking about was like two sentences long.


Prediction: built in VPN products like Opera's will grow in popularity.


thanks for posting this, didn't realize it had it built in. Just enabled.


So much of this conversation has turned political that I'm going to write this as a top-level comment instead of a response to any of the Republican/Democrat comments.

We all want to perceive our political views as the result of deep, personal thought--reflection on our own moral guidance, our own observations about the world, our knowledge of the law. Or some combination of those things. We don't want to think that our political views are determined by something as arbitrary as where we grew up.

But I think that we are, in fact, shaped more by our environments than we want to think we are. I grew up on a small farm in Texas. My parents happened to be university professors, so I had access to decent education and placed some value on the arts. In fact, I was a professional violinist for 20 years before I got into software engineering and data science.

My working theory is based solely on my observations, and I haven't done a study to try to support this theory, but I am working on getting the funding to do such a study in a rigorous way.

It's this: the primary driver of political philosophy is access to property. When you have access to cheap, functional property, you tend to lean Republican. When you don't, you tend to lean Democrat.

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. When you live in a place like Texas, you don't really need other people's rules. If you don't like the rules in your city, it's pretty cheap to go buy some land with little-to-no oversight from anyone and live your life as you please, so long as you aren't being really obnoxious.

So you have to drive 2 hours to work instead of an hour? No big deal. Your freedom to live under your own rules is more important than that. Why would anyone compromise on their way of doing things when it's so easy to not compromise? It doesn't make any sense.

Contrast that to NYC, where I've been living for almost 2 years. Everything is about compromise. Very few people can afford to just move to a place where no one cares--for a variety of reasons. You can't live in that kind of a dense population without accepting limitations to your freedoms. And you want those limitations in place because people are jackasses. So you agree to curtail what you are allowed to do so that you have some confidence that other people are similarly curtailed. There's a sort of minimum viable level of human decency that gets enforced.

If you think of personal freedom in the sense that it ends when it starts to infringe on the personal freedom of another person, it makes sense that you are going to have more of it if there's no one near you for 10 miles vs. your next door neighbor living in what used to be the second toilet in your apartment.

I don't see much of a conceptual problem with either attitude. I'm much happier in NYC than I ever was in Texas. Texas just doesn't have a whole lot to offer to a liberal, atheist, violinist, and software engineer.

What I see as a problem is that people are incapable of understanding the different needs of different human situations and want to impose their own ideas on populations they do not understand at all.

New Yorkers grow up riding the subway to school. They see all kinds of people from all walks of life and all different races from a very young age. I didn't even meet a black person until I was in college. New Yorkers don't understand how the south can be so racist. I can understand it. I don't condone it at all. But I can understand how it happens. We still have housing laws that allow what's basically racial segregation in Texas and all across the South.

We have Senators and Supreme Court Justices from New York City who don't have a clue about how utterly different things are 2,000 miles away trying to enforce the compromises they absolutely need on the entire country. And conversely, we have idiots from Texas pretending that places like NYC, LA, SF, Chicago and other high-density populations just don't exist--pretending that anyone who doesn't want to compromise is completely free to just go someplace else.

Both sides of the aisle are completely fucked in the head. They are wrong. There is no universal set of rules that make sense in both the context of sparse population/cheap land/driving culture and dense population/expensive land/walking or pub trans culture.

To bring it back to something relevant to this particular conversation, I think you can apply this heuristic to the Senate, FCC, and FTC.

As parties, yes. Both of the big ones are owned by corporate interests. That's clear. But they are owned by the ones they want to be owned by. The ones that they think are in alignment with their political philosophy.

The Republican version of the story on privacy and net neutrality is that everyone has space to move to something else if they don't like it. Let the companies do what they want, and if users don't like it, they can go do something else. Which would be reasonable if Republicans weren't already in the pockets of all the major providers and have made it impossible for there to be another place to "move" to, in terms of internet providers.

The Democrats did, unfortunately, almost nothing to protect users. The Democrats are too willing to compromise to get something done.

In my opinion, it's the will/won't compromise that is fundamentally derived from the geography of where you live that is driving our politics now, including the politics of the internet. Republicans win because they don't compromise. It's not in their vocabulary. Democrats lose because they are, by nature, the compromise party.

In a perfect world, both sides would get out of their shells and try to experience the places other people live. They would realize that one-size-fits-all compromise legislation does not, in fact, work for everyone all the time. And it can't really.

But there are some cases that affect everyone equally: bottom 1%, top 1%, anything in between, the internet matters. This is one of the rare few instances where Republicans and Democrats should be holding hands and applying rules equally across the board.

Those rules should be in favor of privacy and neutrality. No compromise, no matter where you are from or where your political philosophies came from. Net Privacy should be absolute by law as should Neutrality from the providers. That's all there is to it.

In the absence of that, I see a good market opportunity for a social network like Facebook that is entirely encrypted and unscannable by the Intelligence Community. Totally private. No ads. You pay a dollar a month for this. Your data is yours, and you can leave at any time and take it with you in a reasonable format.

I'm already working on that. Ping me if you are interested.


Someone needs to start publishing the web history of everyone who voted YES to showcase the power/data ISPs will have.


Should we open up our wifi routers to confuse the traffic signal? How bad of an idea is that?


-8 of -10

Very bad.


Get ready for dark patterns 2.0 :(


I'm gonna call this the "get your friends and family on an VPN" bill.


Does this apply only to the first hop or to anyone that packets route through?


When do we kill ad tech so that our data isn't as monetizeable?


Every day there's a new reason to be ashamed to be American.


Guess it's time to start using my VPN machine more...


VPNs are the new passwords.


Encrypt all the things.


Encryption does not solve this problem at all. They aren't selling the CONTENTS of your traffic, they are selling the DESTINATIONS.


Isn't some destination information encrypted under HTTPS?

The only thing that might leak is the final public IP address.


Only the path portion.... the dns name is passed unencrypted

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Name_Indication


Who in the right mind would propose cutting EPA budget? This current government. Who in the right mind would want to offer health care to fewer Americans? This current government.

With all the allegations and lying we read about this current administration, there is no sanity neither at the White House nor on the Capital Hill. I never like the fact Senate election is every six years. There should also be a fixed term for all representatives and senators.

(Disclaimer: do not support Trump, but not Democrat / Republican, both parties are dirty in their own way).

If one day voters are given a secure voting application they can vote on all issues, it will be great.


Please let's not have generic partisan battles on HN. They're not what this site is for, they destroy what it is for, and they inevitably degrade into useless flamewars (as in 'commie' vs. 'fascist' below).

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13942925 and marked it off-topic.


> (Disclaimer: do not support Trump, but not Democrat / Republican, both parties are dirty in their own way).

With current winner take all voting structures in the US, this isn't exactly an option. Winner-take-all voting systems end up with only two parties, because that is the only viable way to win.

What we need is ranked choice voting so that voters are not penalized for supporting third and fourth options.

> If one day voters are given a secure voting application they can vote on all issues, it will be great.

I'm not sure I share your confidence in that. A representative government has it's positives, such-as people who are dedicated to govern while we all work, etc. And with only 50% turn out, or less, you'd get a skewed populous actually voting on these things.


If we have the ability to vote (sort of electoral college), but giving incentive to people to participate, perhaps we will see some more engagement. Perhaps. I don't know, it's ideal.

Perhaps if their job is more about explaining and convincing people, and we hold the keys voting, then perhaps the power will indeed back to us. Again, ideal, I don't know how effective it will ever be.


Perhaps there should be more freedom and the government should just do less.


While I'm sympathetic to the direct democracy argument, CA is a great example of the pitfalls of the concept. There are numerous, contradictory ballot propositions that have passed, severely limiting the legislatures ability to budget effectively. See prop tax cielings, other tax requirements, combined with numerous mandatory spending line items. As bad as legislators are, at least they are held accountable at the ballot box for making hard tradeoffs.


why reflexively add that you think both parties are dirty in their own way.

to be fair, I have this instinct sometimes but at a certain point the ways in which their "dirtiness" might be similar becomes less interesting/relevant than the ways in which one party is actively attempting to dismantle the government, and doing so from a place of transparent incompetence.


One side pushes toward marxism, the other side toward facism. Both outcomes end with a dystopian society for the normal citizens. We can only pray the party in power switches enough to keep us in the middle.


Oh, the commie card. I call bullshit.

Now the fascism part we're seeing that actually move forward in real time, so you get half a point.


> Oh, the commie card. I call bullshit.

Had Sanders been elected, I am confident we would be talking about the marxist administration instead of the fascist administration. Hillary? Not so much.


Not we. You would have been talking about the marxist administration.

Just what is marxist about his platform?


As much as I hate the two party system, it does force moderation (generally) on both sides. Democratic senators running for office can't climb on a rooftop and scream "I'm gonna take away all your guns!" Nor can a republican shout "Ban all muslims!" Wait, no, sorry nevermind.


The irony here is no Democrats want to take away any guns. Most Democratic proposals have been along the lines of stricter background checks. Republicans - elected officials - really are calling for blanket Muslim bans.


  no Democrats want to take away any guns.
Oh, yes they have. Heck, Dianne Feinstein went on 60 Minutes advocating door-to-door collection, lamenting the Constitutional barriers to doing so.


> The irony here is no Democrats want to take away any guns.

I don't believe this. I know too many democrats who believe that the 2nd amendment is obsolete and that guns should not be owned by civilians (or even normal police officers).

> Most Democratic proposals have been along the lines of stricter background checks.

Right, because that is the maximum amount of legislation that is even possible to get passed. Outright ban of guns would get shot down (so to speak) from the outset. If and when stricter background check legislation passes, will Democrats rest easy on gun issues? No. They will introduce more and more, progressing inch by inch until our gun laws are similar to UK or Japan.


I'm glad you can see into the minds of these Democratic legislators and know what they really want to do in their heart of hearts. It must be easy making the "Both Sides Do It"(TM) argument when you can quote one side and then just imagine something equally bad for the other side to have said.


>They will introduce more and more

Do you have a source for this or are you speculating?


> Do you have a source for this or are you speculating?

Yeah I have a source - Maryland. The bluest state, posterboy of the Democratic platform. We have the strictest gun laws in the country, and the Democrats are never happy. 3 years ago we had significant new restrictions introduced to restrict gun ownership, way more restrictive than any other state. It's all but impossible for normal civilians to get CCP and Maryland does not respect CCPs of any other state.


I think, more simply, most members of both parties push to increase their own power. It wasn't supposed to work that way. The Federal government was supposed to be limited to a few, specific enumerated powers. But there's too much power in the free-for-all do-anything control-everything leviathan it's become.

You'll never stop the corruption until the power is taken away, i.e., more carefully checked and balanced, and where appropriate, cut back.

Everything should be controlled at the smallest, most local level possible, not the largest.


even if I accept that, my point is that one side has come much closer to facism than the other has marxism.

Or fine, if you don't agree with that even, my point is simply why just hand-waive that it's the same. Let's discuss if the republicans have moved too close to facism without mentioning the democrats who are out of power and aren't a factor in this particular topic.


Why would you have a problem with the Senate term being 6 years? That makes no sense at all.

See the recent election: we got a radical new Administration, plus a huge crop of new GOP politicians. From your stance on the EPA and health care, I assume that you do not favor the GOP.

If we had a 2-year term for Senators like we do the House, then we would have even more GOP politicians in the Senate than we do now, because this time around we had a big GOP sweep. Is that really what you want?

The whole point of the Senate having a 6-year term (and them not being popularly elected before the 18th Amendment) was to keep the federal government from having wild swings in leadership due to short-term political trends. In engineering terms, it's supposed to be a longer feedback loop, to prevent wild oscillations and instability.

Having fixed terms doesn't help; then you get pols who are for sale to the highest bidder because they can't make a career out of government. If you like the EPA and single-payer health care, then Bernie Sanders is probably to your liking. He's been in Congress for several decades now. You want to force people like that out?

Finally, letting voters vote on all issues is a terrible way to run government. If you put internet privacy on the ballot, how do you think people would vote? Why do you assume they'll agree with you? Advertising campaigns by the media can easily convince them that these rules simply increase their costs and are "bad for competition" or somesuch BS. In fact, they'll probably put a similar-looking proposition on the ballot which actually does the opposite of what it appears to. We see this all the time in states with ballot propositions; there'll be 2 props on the ballot, one which is the "good" one, and one which is put there by some industry which hates the good one and sounds good if you don't look at it too closely, and is designed to generate FUD. The whole reason we have professional legislators is because normal people don't have the time or education to handle all these issues; that's why we outsource it to "experts", except in our case the experts are corrupt hacks.


> This current government.

> This current government.

> both parties are dirty in their own way

one of those ways seems more troubling, though.


sigh.

And supporters for both ways feel the same way you do, so, guess what? nothing truly changes.


I would argue that they are not in their _right_ mind.


This subtracts from their responsibility.


I don't believe so. Everyone goes through varying degrees of sub-optimal mental states, and unless they are completely debilitated by something like schizophrenia, they are responsible for bringing themselves out of whatever place they found themselves in.


>Who in the right mind would propose cutting EPA budget?

Once set, the EPA budget is untouchable? That seems like a terrible way to run government. I'm not for or against the budget cut, but I don't think anything should be off-limits.

>do not support Trump

You don't say....

>If one day voters are given a secure voting application they can vote on all issues, it will be great.

I think you'd be surprised for how many people "internet privacy" is completely and utterly irrelevant to their daily struggles.


I never say it is untouchable, but 31% is a lot. Perhaps they need to convince me their cutting will yield to better spending. But we know why the budget is cut - the head of EPA doesn't believe in EPA, Trump doesn't want EPA either.

It isn't just the internet privacy, but everything else.


>I never say it is untouchable

No, but you did say "Who in the right mind would propose cutting EPA budget". I would think about it, as I hope my elected officials would.

>but 31% is a lot. Perhaps they need to convince me their cutting will yield to better spending

This is fair.


This should serve as a reminder that a) elections matter and b) "both sides do it" is utterly false.


>"both sides do it" is utterly false.

So Obama stopped the NSA mass collection program during its administration?


No, but he pushed to implement net neutrality and the rules in question.

Sorry, I'd have to agree. "Both sides do it" is an easy platitude, but Democrats aren't trying to teach the Bible in schools, that Evolution is a lie, that Climate Change is a lie, that wealth trickles down, that more of the "free market" can somehow solve our gigantic healthcare problem, that smoking doesn't kill, that abortion is murder but somehow women who have one shouldn't go to jail for it, that there's no such thing as a wall between church and state, oh wait--Islam?! Yes there's definitely a wall between Islam and state; that keeping guns regulation free makes us all safer, the list goes on.

I'd agree the left has some problems and they do the same emotional manipulating just to get votes. But they also just happen to be manipulating people about issues that are mostly factually supported.


NSA spying on citizens wasn't because of corporate interests. Obama was extremely paranoid that a terrorist attack would affect his legacy and reputation.


That is a completely separate thing?


NSA spying is far, far, far different than having all your info available to the highest bidder.


Breakdown of party affiliation and vote

YEAs ---50

R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R

NAYs ---48

D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D I D D D D D D D D D D D D I D D D D D D D D D D D

Not Voting - 2

R R

(https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_...)


That's incredible. Our two party system is so clearly suboptimal, yet there seems to be no strong agreement, or even leading ideas, on what we can do to improve it.

One day... if we can overcome our deeply set ideologies...


  strong agreement on what we can do to improve it.
uh, yes there is.

Change the way your state votes away from FPTP to a preferential voting system.

https://www.reddit.com/r/EndFPTP/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Comparison_of_Schulze...

https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2016/11/10/maine-became...


My (limited) understanding is that preferential voting systems are not a silver bullet, but I'd love to see some evidence that they would significantly improve things.

Of course, we may also need to consider the notion that the voting system is only a minor problem compared to other aspects of our governance model.



Arrow's impossibility theorem is often trotted out as an argument against ranked preference, but in federal elections non-dictatorship is an irrelevant consideration, as information-scarcity prevents a voter from leveraging his unique position as the deciding vote.

It makes quite a lot of sense as a downside in limited, party based voting situations. IE, if you were an independent in a theoretical senate where 50 republicans, 50 democrats and you were to vote on a party-line proposition.


> in federal elections non-dictatorship is an irrelevant consideration, as information-scarcity prevents a voter from leveraging his unique position as the deciding vote

If non-dictatorship were being violated, you'd know. The non-dictatorship criterion states that the following situation is impossible:

- Out of all the voters, there is one in particular, who we'll call K.

- The election outcome is always identical to whatever K voted, no matter what anyone else voted.

So, if it isn't possible that a single person ranked candidate A first, the rest of the country ranked candidate B first, and the election nevertheless ranked candidate A first, then the election system does not violate the non-dictatorship criterion.

With that in mind, I am totally confused as to the point you're trying to make? The reason we don't worry about dictatorship is that we don't use systems that exhibit it, not that we have one but nobody knows who it is.


We do use systems that exhibit it under certain constraints, as per my example. Additionally, these constraints are highly common in practice.

The result is that Arrow's theorem itself isn't a rebuttal, as per my first point, and discussion should center around the other two elements of Arrow's theory. Specifically whether or not they are, in practice, worse than our current situation.

Which they aren't. So why trot out Arrow's theorem for the 90th time?


> We do use systems that exhibit it under certain constraints, as per my example.

This is an error on your part. Your example does not violate non-dictatorship; the rules of the election permit anyone to vote against their party registration.

Arrow's theorem is about the design of elections, not predictions about how people will vote in practice.


Absurd. Ranked order voting grants every ability a vote has in FPTP, without the caveat of fear and coercion that forces voters into the 2 party system.

FPTP is by far worse than any preferential vote count.

FPTP will literally throw your vote away if you do not vote for one of the two perceived """"popular"""" parties.


> FPTP will literally throw your vote away if you do not vote for one of the two perceived """"popular"""" parties.

It will also "literally throw your vote away" if you do vote for one of the two perceived "popular" parties. This is an old observation.

And yet, interest groups that vote continue to get better results than interest groups that don't.


There is no practical path towards these, though, given the political climate. People in general intertwine their political affiliation with their personal identity and self-worth--good luck trying to get them to abandon it. And there are no incentives for politicians either, they similarly benefit from the predictability and clear demarcation of polarization (vote predictability makes legislation easier to whip, gerrymandering is easier, etc.).


This is politics. Nothing is "practical" except what you are willing to do. A man got on TV and said "I could shoot supporters in the street and still get votes," then was elected president.

You can do literally anything. Saying "it's impractical" is just you getting in your own way.


That's nonsense, he was elected President because enough of the right people voted for him. He could very easily have done things to piss them off and then would not have been elected President. Just because his election didn't fit in with your mental model of how politics works, doesn't mean that it didn't fit in to any model. It did, it just wasn't yours.


Isn't the obvious conclusion that one could say the exact same thing to you? Just because it doesn't fit your model of practicality...


I wonder about that... If you look at each individual district, I'd agree with you. If you look at it more generally though, there would be a case for the Republicans wanting to push this in CA (where they are almost non-players at the state level at this point), and similarly the Democrats pushing for it in Texas.

Given this, there is an argument for both parties wanting this so that they could potentially have more power in areas where they do not now...


From a global perspective (I don't live in the USA), this sort of thing keeps the world somewhat balanced.

Clearly the US healthcare system is all screwed up. Its astonishing that the richest country in the world can't provide basic healthcare to all its citizens. The US spends far more on health than any other country, yet the life expectancy of the American population is not longer but actually shorter than in other countries that spend far less. https://ourworldindata.org/the-link-between-life-expectancy-...

That's clearly bad for many Americans. Yet... America's problem is the rest of the world's gain. Countries that don't have the US's structural problems can benefit from the US's enormous medical research outcomes, without their broken healthcare system.

The two party electoral system is the same. There's been a steady move to more proportional representation systems in other democracies around the world. Yet the US persists with a divisive, broken system.

Yet... if the US got its act together and looked outwards instead of inwards, it would be a fiercer competitor to other countries. So while it certainly looks from the outside to be somewhat insane the way the US political system works, maybe it holds the US back and helps others outside - keeping the world a bit balanced, since the US holds many other competitive cards such as immense scale, vast access to capital, etc.

Its possible to look at a lot of the recent developments a bit like this - perhaps bad for the US domestically, perhaps good for the world as a whole.

So net neutrality is going to get undermined? That's bad for the American consumer, for sure. But maybe if its bad for pure internet companies also, then it might be good for their offshore competitors.


I think the common consensus online is: more representatives and a transition to a non-FPTP (first-past-the-post) voting system.


I am very skeptical of this ever happening until there is a crisis that is agreed to be caused by it (which seems very unlikely, since the polarization has created a feedback loop that maintains the polarization). There are little incentives for legislators to do this right now.


In case you want a general understanding of some alternatives and how they work:

http://www.cgpgrey.com/politics-in-the-animal-kingdom/


I've seen those videos, and they do a great job explaining the concepts.

Unfortunately, I've yet to acquire a good handle on the real world impact such alternatives would bring. Does anyone know of analysis that looks at how countries that have implemented these systems have benefitted?


Ranked choice voting; allowing more choice into the process, and getting away from the extremes.


I mean, there are technically two "I"s hiding in the sea of "D"s...


A 3rd party?

Even if they held only 4 seats, would change the entire political landscape.


Third parties in a non-parliamentary government always serve to hurt their own interests. No matter what the messaging or issues or preferences du jour are, they will always end up being more closely aligned with one of the two major parties than they are with the other. And thus they will "steal votes" from that party. The more successful the third party is, the more successful the less closely aligned major party will be.


I'm not familiar with the greens, but have looked into the libertarians. Present Libertarian Party is an unprincipled joke; for a start, the candidate in 2016 did not support freedom of association. Right now, the party looks like a shelter for ex-Democrats that aren't progressive enough for the current climate.

Libertarianism that Ron Paul was pushing in 2008 and 2012 Republican primaries was worth considering (and I personally would love if the guy won), but notice how he had to choose one of the two major parties to get noticed, just like Trump did in the last cycle and other non-mainstream candidates did before them.


A 3rd party isn't going to win any seats. The Libertarian and Green parties are convenient parking spaces for quasi-protest votes. The Tea Party was always the Republican Party. I'm a progressive liberal and I'm a registered Democrat.

We have First Past The Post voting and Duverger's Law says as a result we will have two real parties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law


Duverger's Law describes tendencies, not inevitabilities. Canada has FPTP and several parties in Parliament. UK the same. A regional split in the party system, or a conservative insurgency against the Republicans in Alabama, or a liberal one against the Dems in DC, or any one of a number of other scenarios would do it.


Eh. Multiparty systems generally form a couple of coalitions anyway. It's not really clear to me what the big difference would be if Rand Paul had an L next to his name instead of an R.


I think the idea is that with multiple parties the coalitions would be more fluid. There's already a soft version of that with "blue dog" and "gang of 8." You do need some sort of coalition to get anything passed.


Perhaps he'd vote against instead of abstaining, since he wouldn't be beholden to the big R?

Breaking the dialectic stranglehold the two party system has on this country would be the benefit. Nothing's perfect, but multiparty gives the system more diverse voices, more opportunity for people to choose and think for themselves.


voting with the minority is the same as abstaining.


I think true democracy would only work in a society where everyone is equally smart/stupid, equally educated/uneducated with equal amount of free time on hands.

Otherwise any kind of voting system is similar to your monthly vote on budget, where you, your spouse and your 4 kids have an equal right to vote. In such situation, you endup with unpaid bills, utilities shut down, bunch of candy and newest set of playstation games.


The only two Republicans who didn't vote for the bill were Rand Paul and Johnny Isakson. Pretty sad.

edit: Rand Paul is listed as a cosponsor on the bill.


Also a problem with this political setup: they chose not to vote rather than voting against. To avoid being wood-shedded by their party I assume?


Yep. I'm betting that they didn't speak out on it, either.


They didn't vote because they are probably up for re-election soon and its expected to be a close race.


Not present is not a 'no' vote. Its a petty attempt to not be associated this bill once Paul knew the GOP had enough votes to pass it without him. He could have voted no and stopped this bill if he chose.


It's interesting how the non-fixed font size makes the Ds look like they're more than the Rs.


I'd suggest RLE:

Yes: 50 Republicans

No: 46 Democrats and 2 independents

Abstentions: 2 Republicans

edit: tx fjert!


>No: 48 Democrats and 2 independents

I think you meant 46 Democrats and 2 Independents.


let's replace the electoral college with non-fixed fonts!


But, but, the internet told me that both sides are equally bad!


How does this show otherwise?


Both sides serve different masters, none of which is the American public.

If one offers you ice cream more often than the other, that doesn't make them "less bad". Chemotherapy is "less bad" than cancer, but most folks generally don't want to have either.


If one party says, "hey, let's try to work on this bill together" and essentially appropriates a lot of the ideas from one of the opposing members (Romney), and is able to create a compromised, conservative approach to at least helping millions of Americans get health insurance (the ACA), and other side says, "let's undo this right now, not because we have a better solution, but because politically we have to" and tries to expedite the process because they know their bill wouldn't survive a rigorous and lengthy review, which is predicted to give substantial savings to the richest people in America while leaving millions without healthcare, then yes, I would say one side is 'less bad.'


You can cherry-pick this all day long. Partisans from both sides can point to specific cases of the opposing party behaving badly and/or biting an outstretched hand.

Both parties are self-serving.

Both parties have supported the surveillance state.

Both parties ignore their constituents when convenient.

Both parties have promoted legislation that they themselves are exempt from.

"Less bad" is a red herring. What's better, a shit sandwich or a sandwich with 90% less shit in it? Partisans will try to convince you that any sandwich will have shit in it, and their particular sandwich's shit is barely noticeable and actually good for you if you were smart enough to realize it.


Bottom line: We're all in a prison, and shit sandwiches are for dinner. I'll take the one with 90% less shit until (hopefully someday) we're all released from the prison that is American democracy.


It sounds like your critiques are more system-related than ideology-related. That's fine. Systemically, it's a tricky question. What's the best way to ensure that 300 million people have access to the most complicated global networking system ever created? Is our capitalist republic equipped to handle it?

But your systemic critique bypasses the obvious point that ideologically, there are great differences between the major American political parties on this issue.

Denouncing the system as "all shit" does nothing to change this fact.


No. This reductionism is intellectually lazy, and does nothing except let you smugly think you're superior to everyone else.


Exactly who is paying Democrats to oppose this? They're doing it out of principle. There are major ideological differences between the two parties. Narratives like yours are unbelievably dismissive and politically deaf.


"Exactly who is paying Democrats to oppose this? They're doing it out of principle."

Yes, the principle being: if the other guys are for it, we're against it. Just like the Republicans.

You can argue for individuals standing on principle, such as Ron Wyden (D-OR). But he was a standout in his own party when it came to re-authorizing the Patriot Act in 2011. Likewise, in the same party you have Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is a major proponent of mass surveillance.

No, the Democrats are not magically immune to corruption or self-service. There is no Democrat Exceptionalism here.


Obama's FCC has been far more consumer friendly than Bush's and now we're back to GOP FCC rules and policies that are anti-consumer, at best. Its not a "you go one way, we go the other" style politics, but legitimate ideological differences. The Dem senators want those big donations from telecoms as well, but they're saying no to this due to ideology.

Also bringing up the Patriot act is dishonest, that's a national security issue, while this is a consumer privacy one. These types of things intersect, they're still different concepts and different bills.

A FISA warrant to get my information? Fine, I accept that. There's oversight and every nation needs security and has processes in place to ensure it, flawed as it is. Handing my info to every shady marketer and social media company? No.


Doesn't matter. When you have cancer, you have to pick: chemo or not.


Hacker News'ers, why did you vote for republican senators knowing they'd do something like this?


Not a US citizen, but I would vote for Rand Paul if I was and had the option to do so, even in the 2016 presidential primaries. Why? He's, among the current set of senators on both sides, the most libertarian one and, despite not being a purist on the level of his father, I consider him worthy of the Paul surname. It's impossible to predict something down to this fine graining, but I agree with Rand on the issues he lists at [1] and he has a record of standing against NSA spying [2].

[1] https://randpaul.com/issues

[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rand-paul-wraps-up-nsa-filibuste...


Didn't he co-sponsor this bill?


He did, and that's what I find very inconsistent with his prior actions, so there must be something more going on; e.g. [1] says: "This undoes the 73-page publication [2] published on 2016-12-02 by the FCC, most of which took effect 2017-01-03, some parts later on 2017-03-02, both after the election and one of them after the inauguration." So this regulation did not even exist until a few months ago.

I tweeted to Rand Paul to clarify his standing on S.J.Res.34 and I hope he will. The US citizens should e-mail/call Rand and others and demand statements as this is being overshadowed by Obamacare repeal/Ryancare introduction bill.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13943942


Note that it is basically pointless to contact a Senator from a state you don't vote in.


I am aware of that. Call me idealistic, but I am hoping that he, like his father, also cares to spread the ideas of liberty more broadly and is therefore wiling to explain the principles behind his votes.


Didn't expect Trump to win.


Was it a protest vote then?

edit: Oh I see, you voted for a republican senator but not necessarily a republican president.


And knowing that you personally helped bring this about, what do you plan to do?


Fight the two party system.


Don't forget to vote.


Our voting system is itself flawed, and leads to the entrenchment of power in two parties, which are private organizations built for the purpose of consolidating political power.

As long as we have First Past the Post voting [0], we will be stuck with whatever candidates those two parties choose to offer us. We will not be able to use our votes to elect candidates who accurately reflect our political will - we will only be able to choose the lesser evil out of the options presented to us.

The political discontent arising from Trump's election and presidency should be used to change our voting system to something that doesn't suffer from Duverger's Law [1] or the Spoiler Effect [2], and that will allow the outcomes of elections to closely map the range and number of actual political opinions - i.e., something that makes electoral results accurately reflect the real will of the people.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoiler_effect


I agree. Please continue to be active in this direction. In the meantime, voting is better than not voting in terms of having an influence on the system we do have.


I agree with your point, too, although I'm skeptical we can do much more than, maybe, polish the brass while the ship founders. Still, shiny brass (slightly nicer surroundings) is better than not.

I do think we need radical reforms if we want the ship to not sink, though, so I don't feel that encouraging people to vote, without urgently arguing that voting reform is necessary, is deeply meaningful.

On another current HN thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13939645), a Show HN about a tool for interactively modeling dynamic systems, I followed the tool's author back to their website, and found a really great interactive blog post about Building a Better Ballot [0]. I'm going to be spreading that around as much as I can; it seems to me the best tool/post for really understanding the various voting methods and some of their flaws. I hope you'll check it out and share it, if you also like it. (I'm in no way affiliated with the author or tool, for the record; just impressed by it.)

[0] http://ncase.me/ballot/


My vote doesn't count, and my party colluded to keep my presidential candidate off the ballot.


The difference is all the trump voters that said the exact same thing actually went out and voted. Lo and behold, their votes counted.


I voted. Even though I knew, going into the booth, that my vote counted for nothing, thanks to the electoral college.

Please stop pushing the false narrative that if only everyone voted, the kleptocracy would grind to a halt. It's culturally entrenched at this point.


If maybe 1 or 2% of people in swing states who thought like you decided to vote instead of deciding not to vote, the outcome may have been different.

You are one voice in three hundred million. So is everybody else. Please vote.


Utterly irrelevant. My vote won't count more either way. I have no control over swing state voters.

If maybe there weren't swing states, the outcome would have been different. The system is set up this way for a reason - so that people like you can tell people like me that if they only voted, things would be fixed. Maybe they would, but, like I said, my vote doesn't count, so I can't really vote for it, can I? :)


You've said the same thing in three different comments in this thread, and I understand why you feel that way. Let me ask you this: Did you add your name to the petition to end the electoral college and support a more balanced and fair voting system? I did, because even though I feel strongly that every vote counts, it's a reality of the US system that some votes count more than others.

There has to be a better way to run this "democracy" we were born into, and that change has to start with us; the entrenched politicians won't dare change it on their own.


Which one? There have been a bunch. Sure, I've signed them. I also give money. And I've helped with trying to get campaign finance reform on the state ballot, which was then shut down by legislature.

Entrenched politicians aren't going to change things on their own, but it's a false to assume that that means they are going to change things for anyone who can't threaten their hegemony.

My state is not a swing state. My representatives are both solidly entrenched and also on the take. In terms of federal issues, my vote will never count here.


> My representatives are both solidly entrenched and also on the take.

So get the word out in your community and change that fact. If you want change, be the spark.


I hear people say this all the time, seemingly forgetting that laws are made by Congress. The person who holds the office of President certainly matters, but the people doing the legislating matter just as much.


The legislative representatives I am able to vote for are entrenched and paid off. It is unreasonable that I can only vote and hold influence over a couple of senators and representatives, if they are all supposed to be beholden to all the voters. You can't even call other senators/representatives and expect them to listen to the call.

It is beyond me that, given that my vote doesn't count in the presidential election (due to electoral college rules), and my local representatives are entrenched, due to division of the representation, how things will 'sort themselves out' if I just faithfully go to the polls every time.


That is certainly your choice, but regardless of whether or not you believe it counts, this kind of thinking is very prevalent and a large reason for resoundingly low voter turnout. In my opinion, the wealthy and powerful would much rather have the common voter feel that they have no voice or choice. Realistically civic engagement is much more than just voting, but deciding not to participate is the surest means to not be included. It took less than 30 mins out of my day to actually vote and I think most people spend more time than that talking about or posting on social media about politics.

I apologize if it seems I don't take your frustration and discouragement seriously because I truly do, I feel it too. My point in it all is that going to the polls is the least one can do. Even better is encouraging some friends to engage with you because 10 votes is surely better than one.


Thank you, I wish more people would realize this.


>If maybe 1 or 2% of people in swing states who thought like you decided to vote instead of deciding not to vote, the outcome may have been different.

Could you explain what has that got to do with me, and the fact that my vote doesn't count, for the reasons I've outlined above?


You are 100% correct, if you do not vote, it doesn't count. No use complaining afterwards that it doesn't count.


I fucking voted. Do I get to complain now?

Ah, no. I have to abide by the result of the vote.

Except that my vote counts less than others due to the electoral college, and party officials colluded to smear my voting sector and prevent the candidate I wanted to vote for from even appearing on the ballot.

So, no, my vote never counted.


If you live in California your vote technically counts less for an electoral vote than someone that lives in a low-population flyover state. In terms of population to electoral votes ratio, your power is lower.


Your vote does count if you can be bothered to use it.


Bullshit.

The outcome for my state was decided before I got to the polling place.

The outcome of the election is specifically designed to value my vote as less than that of someone in a smaller, rural state.

The candidates I got to vote for were selected for me, through corruption and subterfuge. I've read the emails of party officials working together to foment hatred between their own supporters out of whole cloth.

So, no, even though I voted, my vote didn't count. Never counted.


I understand and agree with the thoughts behind your argument. My city, Saint Paul, implemented ranked choice voting a couple years ago and I'm thrilled about it. Stay active, not bitter.

But at the end of the day what matters is who gets out to vote. Your state's outcome was decided not by fate, but by people who vote. Count yourself among them.


>But at the end of the day what matters is who gets out to vote.

I'm afraid that this sounds to me too much like the political equivalent of 'do what you love and the money will follow'; based in faith, rather than evidence.


While I disagree, I think your position on the presidential election is valid. Even taking your position, it is still very important to vote for downticket races, which are both not hindered by the EC system and tend to be much closer races since they are so regional. This is also more relevant to the article at hand: congress is passing these laws, not the president. So even if your vote doesn't matter for the president, please do vote for the other offices.


Your state was "decided" by everyone else voting. Your vote counts as much as everyone else's vote in your state. Complaining that your vote doesn't count because most people in your district or state disagree with you doesn't make sense.

Yes, the two party system and electoral college should be fixed. Changing the voting system will probably involve people voting to change it.


No, they didn't. More members of your party voted for a different candidate. There was no concrete evidence that any action was actually taken to fix anything.


There was plenty of evidence, from the debate questions, to the financing of state campaigns, to the removing registered voters, to the 'let's organize together to smear Bernie supporters as misogynists' email thread. None of this is hearsay.

Have you forgotten Debbie Wasserman Schultz being thrown in front of the bus? Did you miss Donna Brazile denying giving debate questions to HRC, only later call it something she would "forever regret", while then, in another situation continuing to deny that she did it?


No, there was no concrete evidence. There were a few emails from DNC staffers that stated they would prefer Clinton. That is it. There was no actual actions taken.

And OMG, someone told Clinton that there would be a question about Flint's drinking water during a debate held in Flint, Michigan. You'd have to have ESP to predict that.



Again, no concrete actions coming from it. You are looking for a conspiracy where none exists. You are just like the PizzaGate people.

Listen, I wanted Bernie too. I cast my primary ballot for him as well. But clearly more registered members of the Democratic Party wanted Clinton. She was more popular than Bernie among Democrats.


[flagged]


This is an unsubstantiated smear, that does not match with my experience in any way.

And in any case, this is a real bill, that people had been warning about for days from many different sources.


[flagged]


No. It is unsubstantiated because you have provided no substantiation. To anybody that is not you "their recent track record" is not a meaningful statement without some context or citation.


> It matches my experience exactly.

That does not provide any amount of substantiation to your claim. Not only is it an anecdotal claim, you're not even relaying the anecdotes themselves!

Also just dropping in to make a blanket (and OT) claim that the WaPo is putting out clickbait "lately" reeks of ulterior motives. If you actually had a substantiative claim about how this particular story is misleading or erroneous that would be another thing.


[flagged]


The WP article title is "David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science adviser."

Your WE article says "Gelernter is also a fierce critic of academia."

Gelernter is self-defined as anti-intellectual. He wrote a book titled America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats).

His Amazon book description states "David Gelernter connects the historical dots to reveal a stealth revolution carried out by post-religious globalist intellectuals who..."

So what did the WP get wrong?


Ya, you can usually make arguments about how clickbait or sensationalist headlines are "accurate" as long as they contain seeds of fact, but that hardly makes them any less clickbaitish nor representative of the objective facts as a whole.


So, in totality, the true clickbait here is the Washington Examiner article, the one that you provided.

The source that you were complaining about, is in this instance at least, accurate and representative of the whole. Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, but this thread has painted a pretty clear picture to me at least.


I think HN mods may have changed headline to a more reasonable one (or maybe they didn't) but lets contrast the reasonable HN headline (US Senate votes to undo FCC internet privacy rules) with the more alarmist Washington Post version (The Senate just voted to undo landmark rules covering your Internet privacy).

I mean, OMG, these privacy rules were Landmark. And now they are Undone. And it's YOUR privacy that is gone. OMG OMG OMG your ISP is going to start spying on you Right Now! Guaranteed per the headline.

Look, I don't agree with this action by the Senate either as I read about it.

I just am opposed to clickbait headlines from Washington Post and feel they go a bit far and it's worth looking into the claims and implications they make rather than taking them at face value. And they have been getting a bit carried away with this type of thing and sometimes don't present a very accurate picture. That's all.

As far as the thread painting a clear picture it does for me as well. The picture I get is that otherwise intelligent people are forgiving when sensationalism and clickbait support an ideology they uphold.


And linking to their cross-town politically opposite paper's editoral page is _very convincing_. Oh, yes.


@hprotagonist

Yes, but my point isn't ideology or it's opposite. It's click bait headlines that have a distorted take on the actual event. If you don't see these type of headlines as clickbait (for whatever reason, ideology perhaps?) then we'll have to just disagree.

(full disclosure, I disagree with a good share of Washington Post's ideology and consider much of what they print little short of propaganda, but that's just me.)

Oh, and I don't like what I perceive as sensationalist clickbait headlines, no matter what the ideology is.


This is a perfect example of Ad Hominem—no discussion of the content of the article, just a blanket dismissal because you dislike the source.


I quote from [0]:

>Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

Which undoes [1]. From the summary on the first page:

>The rules require carriers to provide privacy notices that clearly and accurately inform customers; obtain opt- in or opt-out customer approval to use and share sensitive or non-sensitive customer proprietary information, respectively; take reasonable measures to secure customer proprietary information; provide notification to customers, the Commission, and law enforcement in the event of data breaches that could result in harm; not condition provision of service on the surrender of privacy rights; and provide heightened notice and obtain affirmative consent when offering financial incentives in exchange for the right to use a customer’s confidential information.

[0] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-re...

[1] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-02/pdf/2016-28006.p...

edit: the headline appears accurate.


I'd definitely like to hear the other side of the story. It's hard to get a proper sense of the situation with just a single viewpoint.


Something like http://fortune.com/2017/03/22/senate-vote-repeal-fcc-broadba... ? It could be phrased as removing onerous regulation from ISPs that doesn't apply to websites, limiting federal overreach into what should be a free-market problem.


Ah, yes, the "free market" of state-granted monopolies.


That's a poor argument. Putting aside my personal opinion that the "free market" is a bullshit reason almost all the time, it clearly doesn't apply to ISPs. Too many regional monopolies. I can choose to avoid websites I think aren't trustworthy. I can use duckduckgo instead of google, for example.

I can't really get around my ISP without jumping through a lot more hoops.


The only way you could make that argument is if you feel that ISPs should be able to do this in the first place. I, for one, feel they absolutely should not be able to do this under any circumstances. As such, I do not see it as overreach, or anything that the market should be "solving".


Sorry but that's just plain disinformation. You can go look at the legislation itself. The Senate voted for this. There are no alternative facts.


Would you please not post unsubstantive comments to HN, and especially not about divisive topics?

Provoking and perpetuating off-topic flamewars counts as trolling, even if you didn't intend it that way.


I really believe as I stated about clickbait headlines and checking into the actual facts, but if stating that is going to produce this intense of a reaction (which I suppose is trolling even if not intentionally) than by all means I'll desist.


I'm surprised she has not been shadowbanned yet. Is there an explicit policy on this or is it at mod discretion?


Specific examples please.


[flagged]


I did. Thank you for the examples, but I am unconvinced and still believe you are just another person with an anti-media agenda.


[flagged]


>My only point is you can't glance at Washington Post headlines and have a guaranteed accurate picture of the event. Which is true. Ideology aside.

You also can't glance at ANY headlines from ANY publication and "have a guaranteed accurate picture of the event." Which is true. Ideology aside. So why the need to point it out specifically in the case of the WaPo?


Forgive them father, they know not what they do.


but but Hillary's emails. ugh


Be sure to go read the actual regulations before subscribing to the rhetoric, there's more than one guilty party here.

Once again though, we the people lose and the Democrats/Republicans​ win.


The vote was 54-50, how the hell did the Democrats win?? The vote was almost 100% on party lines. Seems to me the Republicans have been all about this and the Democrats against it. I'm not in either party - but saying they are the same is just absurd.

Edit: Sorry, it's 50-48, even closer. Here's the list of cosponsors, not a single D. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-re...

10 Repeating flawed logic to yourself does not make it true. 20 GOTO10.


You see this way too much, apathetic cynics will reply to anything political with the lazy and ignorant: "Democrats = Republicans, we all lose"

They put 0 effort into their analysis, they're just rote repeating a cynics trope that makes them feel smart and superior to the process.

It's difficult, after all, to educate yourself on the issues and respect the differences between the parties. It's difficult and complicated and messy to dig into the details and realize the differences.

Why do the work? It's far easier to be a cool hipster cynic and rote repeat out the standard script: "Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same party" "There's no differences"


Sanity check: there are only 100 senators, 2 per state.


Yeah I corrected my mistake but thanks.


While I have complaints about both parties you are being ridiculous. This was a straight party line vote, it passed with only R votes and every D voted against. Both parties have problems, but to say they are the same is delusional.


Obama admin did little about NSA domestic spying (and James Clapper perjured himself, but is amazing still considered credible by the media), so the idea that neither party cares about privacy is, indeed, correct.


The statement is true, but its reasoning is built on a disingenuous lack of nuance in the context of a pertinent privacy issue split along party lines. Saying "neither party cares about privacy" clearly fails to convey anything meaningful in this particular instance.


No, the idea the neither party cares about privacy is not entirely incorrect but it's a ridiculous oversimplification and lacks any nuance.

We are in a discussion thread talking about an instance where the US government voted to essentially remove all privacy protections for Americans, and it was completely down party lines. Every Democrat voted against it. Every single one. Nearly every single Republican voted for it except for a couple with some principles -- e.g. Paul, who most Republican politicians would love to get rid of and mostly ignore.

I don't really like Obama admin views on domestic spying either, but government spying for "national security" reasons with FISA warrants is quite far away from "free-for-all, all of your most personal and private history is now available to the highest bidder". While I disagree with both, I can see the nuance there, and so can the 48 Democratic and Independent senators.


You're right, of course. The Democrats seem more for protection in the private realm. Hopefully the motivation isn't simply to preserve the deep state's monopoly, under a national security pretext, on the power to violate the privacy of enemies of their agenda (like Trump).


Too bad the Republicans with principles couldn't muster up enough principle to actually vote no instead of abstaining.


Care to expand?




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