Editorial Contest Winner | ‘Losing the Internet’


我们每天发表一篇文章,以表彰第四届年度学生社论大赛的前 10 名获奖者。

下面是大卫·沙茨(David Scharts)的文章,15岁。

Losing the Internet

On March 28th, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a rule which would have forced internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast (similar to NET in Brazil), to obtain their clients’ consent before selling their browsing history. This is a major defeat in the fight for privacy rights, and could eventually lead other markets to also start selling their clients data. We must ensure that this loss does not happen elsewhere and keep lobbying our representatives for changes and the preservation of our rights.

Experts such as the attorney Dallas Harris say that the information provided by the browsing history is vast, and could be used to discover users’ sexuality, medical and banking history, and more. Furthermore, the vote potentially leaves the door open for other issues: If a corporation is allowed to know what a client does with their product, shoe companies could then be able to track their costumers, for example. To authorize these companies to do all of this without their client’s consent means that privacy, as we know it, is over. Our personal information is no longer ours, since others can obtain it, buy it and sell it without restriction.

Also relevant is the influence ISPs have over Washington. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, ISPs spent over $30 million on lobbying last year alone, so it is far from unexpected that lawmakers are benefiting these companies, even if the consequences of such harms citizens.

It could be argued that the increase in profits leads to cheaper services, and that customers could simply choose an ISP that doesn’t sell information. However, as reported by the National Broadband Plan, cable companies are practically monopolies. 96 percent of Americans don’t have access to more than two providers, and many are lucky to find more than one. Therefore, since the competition is so restricted, a reduction in the cost of service is very unlikely, as it would not increase demand, and finding an alternative, fairer provider is impossible for most. And this is far from a new issue: Matt Richtel from The Times proposed in 1998 a different type of service for these companies, one that could end the monopoly and the onerous fees.

Citizens of all countries are already being excessively spied on by their own governments, as seen in Snooper’s Charter and the Snowden leaks. And now, corrupted politicians have allowed yet another fundamental right to be lost to some of the most hated companies in America (proven by a recent 24/7 Wall St. study). It is fundamental for every internet user to call their representative in order to make sure the vote is eventually repealed, and ensure that other rights, such as net neutrality, remain.

Works Cited

Center for Responsive Politics. “Influence and Lobbying: Top Spenders 2016.”

National Broadband Plan. “Chapter 4: Broadband Competition and Innovation Policy.”

Richtel, Matt. “In Search of a Free ISP.” The New York Times. 4 Nov. 1998.

Sauter, Michael and Stebbins, Samuel. “America’s Most Hated Companies.” 24/7 Wall St. 10 Jan. 2017.