Broadband companies, privacy experts said, occupy a different position than internet companies. Google and Facebook, they noted, are corporate giants with plenty of market clout. But they are not a fundamental pathway to the internet the way the broadband providers are. And, privacy experts said, there is little or no competition for broadband service in many markets.Most consumers can use alternatives like satellite or cellular. They can also mask their activities by using VPNs.
“You can live without Google or Facebook,” said Dallas Harris, a legal and policy fellow at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer group. “It’s pretty difficult to walk away from internet service altogether.”
But it is much harder to avoid Google and Facebook spying on you, and selling your info thru ad clicks. Even if you try to avoid Google and Facebook, most of the other sites on the web have Google and Facebook spy buttons on them. And you cannot very well use something like a VPN to hide what you are doing, because Facebook requires your real identity and Google services require your email and your location.
The internet has done well with minimal regulation, and maybe it ought to stay that way. Or maybe some regulations ought to force ISPs to offer basic privacy protections. But I cannot agree with these so-called "privacy experts" who say that Google and Facebook should be allowed to spy on you and sell your info all they want, but other ISPs like phone companies cannot.