Organization launches billboard targeting Jeff Flake over internet privacy vote
PHOENIX — An anti-censorship organization has unveiled a billboard in Phoenix targeting Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake for his vote to kill Obama-era online privacy regulations in March.
The billboard reads, “Flake betrayed you. He took $185,900 from telecoms, then he voted to let them sell your web history without your permission.”
It also gives the number of Flake’s Phoenix office, telling drivers to call and ask Flake “why” he voted the way he did. The billboard is located at Interstate 10 and Baseline Road in Phoenix.
Jason Samuels, Flake’s spokesman, called the billboard’s message “disingenuous, considering the rule had not even gone into effect before it was repealed.”
“It’s flat-out inaccurate to imply that anyone’s online privacy protections have changed, much less been compromised,” the statement continued. “The privacy protections internet users had before the rule are the same privacy protections they have today.”
The billboard is one of five crowd-funded billboards around the country that target lawmakers for “betraying” their constituents by voting to roll back internet privacy.
Fight For The Future, the organization that organized and rolled out the billboards, set a crowd-funding goal of $25,000 to fund the project, but the website did not specify how much of that goal was reached.
The Senate voted in March to kill Obama-era online privacy regulations, a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell your browsing habits and other personal information as they expand their own online ad businesses.
In a press release, Fight For The Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng called the move “one of the most blatant displays of corruption in recent history.”
“They might think that they’ve gotten away with it, but they’re wrong,” Cheng said in the press release. “These billboards are just the latest example of the growing public backlash to these attacks on our Internet freedom and privacy.”
This is not the first time Flake has been publicly hounded for his vote. During an April town hall in Mesa, Flake faced an anxious and unrelenting crowd that grilled him for the move.
“When are you going to choose your country over your party?” one constituent asked. “You sold my privacy up the river,” another said.
In the same town hall, a political action committee called American Bridge 21st Century launched an anti-Flake Snapchat filter with the caption “Jeff Flake voted to sell your internet privacy to the highest bidder.”
During an interview with KTAR before the April town hall, Flake said he voted for the bill because he wants “uniform regulation to make sure privacy is dealt with the data itself, not who carries it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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