On Tuesday, House Republicans voted to scrub Obama-era online privacy rules that would have stopped internet providers from selling your data to the highest bidder. The move marks a stark reversal from the short-lived FCC protections, which were passed last October and scheduled to take effect later this year. The law isn’t final as of now, as it’s still pending presidential approval. But if passed, everything from your search history, location, health and financial data -- even the porn you watch -- can be legally sold to target advertisements.
Behind the rule are politicians -- such as House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who have pocketed large payouts from the telecoms industry. That’s why Adam McElhaney, a software engineer from Tennessee, wants to even the playing field. He’s started a GoFundMe campaign to purchase the private internet histories of the politicians who’ve voted to sell yours -- and it’s gaining traction quickly.
McElhaney tells Thrillist in an email that the response to his campaign has been “overwhelmingly positive. People from all over have sent messages in support. Some are skeptical. Rightly so. No one knows me.”
Writing on his website, searchinternethistory.com, McElhaney states that he’s got members of Congress in his crosshairs: “I plan on purchasing the Internet histories of all legislators, congressmen, executives, and their families and make them easily searchable... Help me raise money to buy the histories of those who took away your right to privacy. ” The GoFundMe project has already bested its goal of $10,000, and seems nowhere near sputtering. Over the last four days, 10,000 people have contributed nearly $160,000 toward the campaign.