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If You Value Privacy, Then Just Don't Use the Internet, Says a Congressman


Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin gave the most dubious reason as to why he voted against internet privacy rules: “Nobody’s got to use the internet,” he said. At a town hall meeting on April 13, the GOP congressman argued in favor of internet service providers having access to their customers’ personal browsing histories.

The moment in question started when an attendee of the meeting questioned why sites like Facebook face stricter privacy rules than service providers. She said, “Facebook is not comparable to an ISP. I do not have to go on Facebook,” adding, “I do have one provider. I live two miles from here. I have one choice.”

In his startling response, Sensenbrenner said, “Nobody’s got to use the internet, at all,” adding, “I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising for your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it, and then you take it upon yourself to make the choice that the government has given you.”

Following the exchange, Sensenbrenner’s press office made a clarification on Twitter. In response to a tweet that claimed the representative told his constituents to not use the internet if they don’t like his decision, the press office wrote, “He said that nobody has to use the internet. They have a choice. Big difference.” Somehow, we’re not getting that difference.

Watch the moment from the meeting in its entirety below.


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If You Value Privacy, Then Just Don't Use the Internet, Says a Congressman

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