By now probably everyone has heard of Cards Against Humanity, the popular game in which different permutations of card combinations may result in hilarity, some of them even becoming viral. Well, the creator of the game isn't feeling hilarious at all about recent threats to undermine internet privacy rules set in place by the FCC last year, and he's making his anger clear.
Max Temkin Threatens To Buy Browsing History Of Congress
Max Temkin, the card game's creator, promised via Twitter that he intends to buy the browsing history of Congress members. This ties with the recent pass of a resolution that will let internet service providers, or ISPs, siphon off browsing history data from their consumers and then sell it to advertisers who will no doubt be scrambling for that trove of data.
Internet Privacy Rules Crumble
"If this s*** passes I will buy the browser history of every congressman and congressional aide and publish it," Temkin wrote. The tweet just came before the Congress passed the resolution. By contrast, the Obama-era FCC would have required ISPs to request permission before selling any consumer data, and to anonymize them. Such rules are now blocked.
Both the U.S. Senate and the House voted to eliminate the rule; the former 50-48 and the latter 215-205, as CBS News reports. It's now up to President Trump to approve it, though he is expected to sign the resolution, as the White House has already said that it supports the bill.
Before long, Temkin's retaliative response received enormous traction, becoming popular on social media sites and Reddit, which prompted Temkin on Wednesday, March 29 to issue a follow-up statement.
"The amount of attention this is getting is honestly starting to scare me," he said of his tweet. "Our basic human rights, like the right to privacy, are being sold to the highest bidder..." Temkin added. He reproached "the best minds" on Reddit regarding their participation in mundane assignments, such as querying others "if they want to fight a horse-sized duck or whatever." His statement seems to suggest that those best minds could be doing better.
Advocates of internet privacy, in addition to Tom Wheeler, FCC's former chairman, spoke out against the move after the Congressional vote, stating that the resolution backpedals years of work aimed at bolstering user privacy. Like Temkin, others also voiced their disapproval of the vote. Some have even started GoFundMe campaigns, one of which has now over $160,000 in funding, as Fortune reports, deftly usurping the initial goal of $10,000.
Beware Of History-Purchasing Campaigns
There's ample reason to think twice before supporting such campaigns, however — especially those that involve funds. The Verge argues that there's actually no way to buy the browsing history of the Congress members outright. While ISPs are allowed to sell data, they are not allowed to sell individual histories. In fact, the goal of the campaigns is poised to be illegal irrespective of what the FCC does.
The Telecommunications Act prohibits sharing "individually identifiable" customer information except for very specific circumstances. So there'd be no way — at least legally — of obtaining the browsing history of individual Congress members at all; needless to say the sale of which will violate laws.
However, Temkin's intent on purchasing such information remains to be seen.