McSally Dodges On Internet Privacy

McSally Dodges On Internet Privacy

Aug 9, 2017

It’s a challenge to get Rep. Martha McSally to answer questions about where she stands on important issues. But when we do get an answer, and it turns out to be no answer at all, then its easy to understand Southern Arizona voters’ growing frustration with her.

Take for example her vote to overturn Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on internet privacy. This spring, McSally joined other Republicans in Congress to approve a bill that lets internet service providers such as Comcast, Cox, and Verizon gather highly personal information from you without your permission. That info includes what web pages you visit, what apps you use, and information about your finances. The companies can then use that data to bombard you with targeted ads, or they can sell the information to marketers, financial firms, and data brokers. The Center for Digital Democracy says the law means, “Americans will never be safe online from having their most personal details stealthily scrutinized and sold to the highest bidder.”

When our fellow constituents wrote McSally for an explanation, it took over three months to get a reply. In the letter, McSally explained that her vote to gut internet privacy was actually an effort to protect the privacy of consumers. How did she explain that contradiction? McSally wrote that regulating online privacy belonged to a different agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and she didn’t want to interfere with that.

There’s a big problem with that so-called logic. Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FTC doesn’t have authority over internet service providers. McSally, or her staff, would’ve been aware of that when the letter was sent. That means her concern for the FTC was nothing more than a red herring, information meant to mislead or confuse the people who wrote to her.
Voters of all persuasions have a right to know where their Members of Congress stand on the issues, and to expect timely and honest responses from those representatives. Southern Arizonans who wrote to McSally deserved a straight forward explanation. Instead, they got dodgy answers and political sleight of hand.
-Dennis Newman
internet privacy