Allison Stutzka/Courier Reina Esparza types away into a search engine in the newsroom at Pasadena City College in April 2017.
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Data brokers are selling your information without informing you that someone is paying to look you up.

In the digital revolution people are using sites like PeopleFinder and Intelius to run background checks on people before they go on dates, after they hire a contractor, or simply to be nosy and spy on an ex.


The biggest data brokers however, are the people that we pay to give us access to the internet like Spectrum or Verizon. Internet privacy is an important issue for Americans and our data is being sold to the highest bidder. The vast majority of people believe that their privacy should be protected and not sold to other people. Our elected officials think differently mostly due to the puppet strings that the giant corporations are pulling.

With a recent law being signed by President Trump allowing internet service providers to sell your data and browsing history without your permission. Companies are profiting off our data and browsing history and we are at risk to anyone who wants to buy our information not just including advertisers. People searching sites can provide any public information they have on you for a fee to anyone with a credit card. All you need is basic information and you can find out where someone lives and any information available on them. What is alarming is the potential misuse of this information. If internet service providers can sell your browsing history, there is potential that sensitive information can be sold such as social security numbers or other vital information.

There is strong bipartisan disapproval for this law and the practices of companies selling your private information. With over 72% on both sides do not approve of of the new law. This issue had a stronger disapproval rate among republicans than the American Health Care Act even though both were sponsored by the party. Then how come this law was put into effect ensuring that telecommunications companies can make a hefty profit off of you and what you browse online? The answer is simple, the electorate asked for this to happen. When people don’t hold their elected officials accountable they won’t protect our interests they protect their donors’ interests. Cable companies have donated over 19 million dollars to politicians this last election cycle and have spent 87 million dollars lobbying congress. Of course getting laws passed in your favor shouldn’t be too hard when you can throw that kind of cash around.

What can the American people do? The most important thing we as a republic can do to is to pay attention who we vote for. Voting based on fear or hatred isn’t going to “Make America Great Again”, and we certainly can not just vote based on what demographic we identify with. The voters of today and future voters need to pay attention to the policies and the history of candidates. The voters should be more involved in the political process than not at all. The people we put in office affect the lives of millions of people everyday. The American people should not have to tolerate their laws being bought and paid for by giant conglomerates that want to line their pockets at the taxpayers expense.

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