On March 28, 265 members of Congress voted to repeal a set of Obama-era privacy rules that would have stopped internet service providers (ISPs) from selling your browsing data to advertisers without your consent. Popular arguments against this rule change include “protecting privacy” and “respecting consumers.” Popular arguments for it are harder to come by, but they may include “I receive donations from major ISPs,” or “I would like to make lots of money lobbying for ISPs after I am out of Congress.” Duncan Hunter, “the vaping congressman” and also the under-investigation-for-campaign-finance-fraud congressman, was among those apparently more persuaded by the latter arguments.
Now that Trump has signed the bill into law, ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T are free to sell your sensitive browsing data (which could include geolocation coordinates, browsing history, and app usage data) to advertisers as they see fit. The main lobbying group that represents those ISPs, CTIA, supports this state of affairs: “Web browsing and app usage history are not ‘sensitive information,’” CTIA told the FCC this year. As that is apparently a position shared by Congressional Republicans, let’s embark on a journey to see what Hunter and his 264 cohorts have been up to online. None of this information is, after all, “sensitive.”
We don’t have the means to purchase the browsing history of our esteemed senators and congressmen and women outright, but we do have all investigative tools the internet has to offer; as we’ve seen before, the internet offers plenty.
For the first installment of our 265-part series, we’ll be taking a look at some of the online dealings of Representative Hunter (R-Calif.). Or, as he’s known to the bodybuilding and vape enthusiast forums of the net, “uberjaeger.”
To be sure, not every uberjaeger online is Hunter. This one at the AR15.com forum, for instance, is almost certainly not him, as the user makes references to living in the Chicago area. Congressman Duncan Duane Hunter, son of former Congressman Duncan Lee Hunter, is from San Diego, California.
The uberjaeger who used to be active on the venerable right-wing news board Free Republic, however, seems to be our man. (We’ve reached out to Hunter’s office for confirmation, and will update if and when we hear back.) In response to an article posted on FreeRepublic.com, user uberjaeger responded to an article about how Duncan Duane Hunter, not yet in office, was planning to run for office despite having been recalled to active duty.
In response to an article about how Hunter’s congressman father had fired two advisers over racist remarks about immigrants, uberjaeger writes:
And here he is plugging away at his dad’s campaign:
An old YouTube account under the same name contains only two videos, both of which star the elder Duncan Hunter.
Where else might Duncan Hunter show up on the world wide web? As we all know, Duncan Hunter loves to vape. As he proudly proclaimed just over a year ago: “Yes, I vape.” Like most vapers, Hunter also apparently loves to post online; as far as vaping sites ago, he appears to be active on both the ScrewDriver forum and E-cigarette-forum.com. It’s on the latter where he truly gave himself away.
In a 2008 thread titled “Contacting your representatives,” uberjaeger offers the big reveal:
But Hunter’s not just here to talk politics. He’s also here to tell weird, rambling stories, with odd references to Freud and no apparent point. In a thread titled “San Diego Chargers and the Pen Style,” uberjaeger contributed this:
Hunter may be in the middle of his first FBI investigation, but he’s no stranger to being “the bad boy.” Because, friends, Duncan Hunter has vaped at the airport, which he confesses in a thread titled “I vaped at the airport”:
And if you were wondering whether Duncan Hunter has ever vaped on a plane, Duncan Hunter has vaped on a plane:
Still, a man can only vape so much, and Rep. Hunter is a man of myriad interests. It should come as no surprise, then, that this former Marine also spends some time on the the legendary forums of BodyBuilding.com.
The majority of Hunter’s posts are admittedly mundane discussions of the technical aspects of bodybuilding. There are, however, a few gems.
Here’s uberjaeger discussing his use of Lipo-6x, a weight-loss supplement product that my colleague Hamilton Nolan describes as “basically legal speed, and people take it either to suppress appetite or to get hype before they work out.” (Nolan went on to say, “If you ask me all you need is a cup of coffee and the heart of a lion.”)
Hunter’s constituents deserve to know that the man they voted for not only owns but wears a bodybuilding.com t-shirt.
Rep. Hunter, I don’t think that’s the only reason they’re making fun of you.
Over the coming months, we’ll continue to help publicize the completely non-sensitive web histories of the elected officials who voted to overturn the FCC’s privacy rules. If you know of any (public-facing) forum posts, social media accounts, Second Life avatars, or other web ephemera from a senator or representative who voted to overturn the rule, please do let us know. After all, it’s what our lawmakers want.