Rep. Michael Capuano took to the House floor this week to talk about an issue close to him, literally: his underwear.
"Just last week, I bought underwear on the internet," he said. "Why should you know what size I take? Or the color? Or any of that information?"
Capuano was protesting a bill passed by Congress that would block new privacy protections for internet users from taking hold. The protections, passed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016, would have required internet service providers to obtain permission from users before selling their browsing data, including websites visited, medical conditions looked up, emails written (including their content) and—yes—underwear purchased.
"They collect everything you do, every keystroke, every website, every email you send ... they will collect it, and they usually will be collecting it at this point in time for the purposes of selling it to somebody else," Capuano said.
Internet service providers (or ISPs) lobbied for the protections to be overturned, saying they were at a disadvantage because companies like Facebook and Google can already collect some user data and use it to target advertisements. (However, while users can choose not to use services like Facebook and Google, they're usually limited geographically to only one or two Internet providers, as The Guardian notes.)
Capuano says the way to even the playing field was not to make things easier on the ISPs, but to get tougher on the other companies.
"The answer is not to get rid of the protections you do have. The answer is to add more protection so Facebook and Google have limitations as well," he said.
The bill—which President Donald Trump is expected to sign—is a blow for privacy advocates everywhere, Capuano says.
"I like my privacy," he said. "It's nobody's business. I would prefer to not have that sold on my behalf so I can be sold more ads."
Congressman Capuano also got us up to speed on some of the other moves that the President and Congress have taken recently that were not in the headlines by way of A Look Behind the Curtain. He joins Boston Public Radio every other Thursday to go over his ongoing documentation of these actions.
Click on the audio player above to hear the entire interview with Rep. Michael Capuano.