CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Stephen Colbert snorts at scrapping of internet privacy rules

Commentary: The late-night host compares the situation Congress hath wrought to staying at a hotel that doesn't have locked doors.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Stephen Colbert is disturbed.

The Late Show/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You may not have heard, but the likes of Comcast might soon be selling information about your fondness for watching videos of hamsters in diapers swinging from historic buildings.

It might also offer your constant searches for "Is any politician sane?" to both political parties.

Congress, you see, has just decided that your browser history is just another piece of you to be sold to the highest bidder. President Trump has indicated he's OK with that.

Stephen Colbert is a little disturbed by this. On "The Late Show," he suggested that perhaps it's a good idea to stop using the internet. (Disclosure: "The Late Show" airs on CBS, which is the parent company of CNET.)

"This is what's wrong with Washington DC," he declared. "I guarantee that there is not one person, one voter of any political stripe anywhere in America, who asked for this."

This is patently untrue. I fancy that several voters who happen to be executives with ISPs asked for this, while contributing to, say, a political party.

Still, Colbert insisted: "The only thing less popular would be if they passed a bill allowing traffic jams to call you during dinner to give you gonorrhea."

As for Republicans who supported this change -- such as Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn -- Colbert said he already knew what was in her search history: "How to spout bullshit."

Colbert is also appalled at government action that takes away protections against hackers and thieves.

"That's like a hotel saying, 'Yeah, you can stay here, but heads up, we don't lock the doors. Also we sell videos of you masturbating."

Video of Colbert's angst has already leaped to number 5 on YouTube's trending chart.

I fear many Americans will soon be leaping toward the web to search: "How can I stop my internet service provider from selling my searches, including this one." (CNET has some thoughts on that.)

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition.