Independent repair shop owner and YouTuber Louis Rossmann has received a privacy complaint on a recent video where he criticized paid lobbyists who were participating in a public hearing.
Rossmann has blasted the lobbyists for attempting to play the victim and believes the privacy complaint is an attempt to get his videos censored.
In the video, Rossmann criticized one lobbyist for giving thousands of dollars to a politician and bringing up fear, uncertainty, and doubt regarding a bill that protects consumer rights which ultimately led to the politician voting against the bill.
Rossmann also described a lobbyist from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) as “clueless” after he suggested that letting independent repair people work on a phone would allow them to install apps such as TikTok on the device – something that Rossmann says is not possible unless customers choose to give independent repair people their password.
Rossmann questioned how there is a right to privacy when these people are paid lobbyists whose details are publicly available on the internet and they are participating in a public hearing which is in a public building.
“In the last hearing I went to, they did not even ask for my identification. So I could just be visiting here from France on vacation, not even a citizen of the country, and I could show up and view that hearing,” Rossmann said to highlight the public nature of these hearings.
Rossmann also noted that the public building and the politicians participating in these hearings are paid for by the public’s tax dollars and that the legislation being discussed affects the public.
He added that the public has the right to show up, listen, testify, and record, at these hearings and questioned why it should be any different on YouTube.
“How is it that there is some sort of right to privacy there on YouTube that does not exist in the hearing?” Rossmann said.
Another point Rossmann made is that some of the hearings, including a Nebraska hearing that he attended, are actually livestreamed on legislative websites, which again makes these claims of a right to privacy in such hearings questionable.
“The concept that you have a right to privacy in a public hearing, but b, in an industry where, it’s expected that you fill out a form so that your information is on file for anybody to see, to me is fundamentally ridiculous,” Rossmann said.
For now, the status of the video is in YouTube’s hands. YouTube will review the video for potential violations of its privacy guidelines and consider restricting the content.
YouTube has sided with Rossmann in the past when he received a privacy complaint on a video where he called out the friend of a Yelp salesperson for leaving fake one-star reviews of his business – Rossmann Repair.
“This is an even more open and shut case in my opinion because this is not just a normal member of the public, this is a paid corporate lobbyist,” Rossmann said.
“I find it really aggravating that people who signed up and are collecting paychecks to do this not only don’t want their arguments to be in public but are actually trying to file YouTube claims to have the hearing taken down because they are that unwilling to stand behind the arguments that they’ve made,” Rossmann said. “And if you’re willing to make these arguments to a senator, or an assemblyperson, or Congress, I think you should be willing to make them to the American people.”