Trump’s Suppression of Internet Privacy Protections

P
resident Donald Trump has recently signed a repeal of internet privacy rules despite criticism that it threatens to undermine online safety as well as to enable unconstitutional mass surveillances.

The paradox is that lately he has been complaining that allegedly former President Obama violated his privacy during his campaign for the presidency. Equally paradoxical is the rant of libertarians that Deep Government is out to suppress citizens’ freedoms and that Trump is the protector of those freedoms.

The overturning of the Obama-era privacy protections, which was supported by Congress will allow internet providers to share personal information with advertisers and other third parties without consumer consent.

The collection and sharing of personal information puts internet users at risk to hackers and identity thieves, while at the same time expanding the abilities of government surveillance programs.

“Donald Trump said he was going to drain the swamp, but it didn’t take long for the swamp to drain him,” Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said in an emailed statement to Newsweek. Indeed, populism’s great danger is that in the name of the people enormities are committed that ultimately harm the people.

Major providers—including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon—support the overturning of the internet privacy protections, saying companies like Google and Facebook did not face the same restrictions for how they handle user data.

Privacy advocates argue that the same rules do not apply for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and technology companies because ISPs are fundamental for accessing the internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claims the move will increase competition and make it more fair for internet providers.

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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