In this era of unprecedented digital surveillance and widespread political upheaval, the data stored on our cell phones, laptops, and especially our online services are a magnet for government actors seeking to track citizens, journalists, and activists.
In 2016, the United States government sent at least 49,868 requests to Facebook for user data. In the same time period, it sent 27,850 requests to Google and 9,076 to Apple.1 These companies are not alone: where users see new ways to communicate and store data, law enforcement agents see new avenues for surveillance.
Dozens of websites — including large ones like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon — join an online advocacy push Wednesday, urging regulators and lawmakers not to weaken regulations for Internet providers.
Numerous Web companies, for their part, have argued that net neutrality rules are paramount to ensure that cable and telecom companies don’t become the gatekeepers of how Americans experience the Internet — what people can access at what speeds. The Internet Association, the trade group for Internet companies, says investments have not slowed.