Cards Against Humanity founder threatens to publish web history of Congress members in privacy bill protest

Mythili Sampathkumar
The US House and Senate passed a bill which would allow internet service providers to sell your data to advertisers: Getty

The co-creator of the popular game ‘Cards Against Humanity’ has vowed to purchase and publish the web browsing history of members of Congress should President Trump sign a bill taking away privacy on the internet.

The bill eliminates rules set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which would have required internet service providers to ask permission before selling a person’s browsing history and use of apps to advertisers.

It passed both houses of Congress and now sits on Mr Trump’s desk to sign.

Max Temkin, a Chicago-based designer, told The Independent that Mr Trump has signalled that he will sign it, putting him in opposition to his own campaign promises.

“Trump represented himself as outside of the influence of powerful lobbies like the telecom industry, but that's clearly not the case,” Mr Temkin said.

The bill was possible because of a law called the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to repeal recently passed bills - with Obama administration having signed off the rules - and prohibits government agencies from passing regulations in opposition to the bill.

Congressional Republicans argued that regulations on the telecom industry are “too costly and confusing,” because it only applied to service providers but not sites like Google and Facebook that do the same type of data collection for advertisement purposes, The Hill reports.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi countered with the fact that internet service providers “can even track you when you’re surfing in a private browsing mode. You deserve to be able to insist that those intimate details be kept private and secure.”

However, the votes in both House and Senate went mostly along party lines and Republicans control both.

“We have no idea what the costs are, or if telecom companies will be willing to sell information they collect from Congress,” explained Mr Temkin, but he and the Cards Against Humanity team have a history of working on these issues and plan on pursuing the purchase.

Mr Temkin warns that though this particular issue is already done, “the next fight is going to be even bigger, and more important - Republicans are going to attempt to destroy net neutrality.”

He said eliminating net neutrality could mean internet service providers giving “preferential treatment” to companies of their choosing and add special charges for using certain sites like Netflix.

Once Mr Trump signs the bill advertisers can send targeted, individualised campaigns based on what you have been viewing or searching for on the internet.

Mr Temkin advises that can people can still protect some of their browser history data on desktop computers, by installing certain tools - HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger - provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that works to keep net neutrality.

There are fewer options to protect data while using a phone, however he recommends using the Brave browser and Disconnect app.

The White House has not announced when Mr Trump will sign the bill as yet.

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