Digital Privacy under Trump: Our Fears

There has been growing concern that digital privacy may suffer a great deal under a Donald Trump presidency. Concerns are being raised from all quarters that the incoming administration may intentionally work to jeopardise the gains that have been made regarding digital privacy and net neutrality.

On the one hand, Donald Trump has repeatedly been quoted as having indicated that government surveillance programs are warranted as long as they are for the good of the country. Another way of putting this is to say that as long as the government believes that spying on its citizens is for the greater good, the government can go ahead with its cyber espionage programs.

On the other hand, Donald Trump has been electing to important public commissions fellows who have been known to be against digital privacy rights. A case in point is the appointment of Marsha Blackburn as the chairperson of a congressional subcommittee on telecommunications. Marsha has been an ardent opponent of digital privacy rights throughout her political career. It will be remembered that back in 2015; she was the main person pushing for the passage of the infamous Internet Freedom Act. This piece of legislation had been crafted with one goal in mind: to undermine the FCC’s new rules that entrenched the concept of net neutrality.

Marsha Blackburn is one of the individuals who has been working hard to overturn the progress that we have made so far regarding net neutrality. In effect, those who are opposed to net neutrality have been trying to justify the intention of broadband companies to introduce tariffs for companies, thus controlling the kind of content that we can access online.

The problem is that most of the new appointments that Donald Trump has made so far reflect his mindset that many have described as a possible threat to internet freedoms. Earlier in the course of the campaigns, Trump, while commenting on the Apple case in which the company had refused to comply with a government directive that would have made it abuse the digital rights of its customers, said that the public should boycott apple. Given the current trend, every advocate of digital rights should be worried.

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