Bill Nelson seeks to turn Internet privacy into campaign issue

Originally posted on Tampa Bay Times by Alex Leary on 4/18/17

Sen. Bill Nelson is joining a Democratic trend and turning Internet privacy into a campaign issue.

A new fundraising appeal from Nelson, up for re-election next year, calls a new law allowing Internet providers to track and share personal data without consent, “a blatant violation of our fundamental right to privacy.”

Nelson voted against the legislation last month; Sen. Marco Rubio voted for it, as did most Republican, and President Donald Trump signed it into law. Democrats nationally have sought to stir public outcry.

“This is one more example of the Trump crowd prioritizing profits over people, so it’s on us to hold them accountable,” Nelson says, asking people to sign a petition with a red “Contribute” button below that.

A liberal activist group tied to Indivisible, Action Together Suncoast, has paid for a billboard in Tampa accusing Rubio of selling out his constituents for campaign donations, citing research that he accepted more than $75,000 from Internet service providers.

“How much for a town hall with your constituents?” reads the billboard at the corner of Hillsborough Ave and Memorial.

A separate accounting by the Center for Responsive Politics shows the telecommunications industry as a whole gave $170,000 to Rubio in 2016.

Nelson topped him – $192,000.

Rubio had this to say after the vote: “The FCC’s last-minute regulation was poorly conceived and held internet service providers to a different standard than other companies handling the same information, all while doing nothing to protect consumers’ privacy. It was important to overturn this burdensome rule so that we encourage innovation and investment instead of adding another complex layer of bureaucracy to the internet.”