For those of you who don’t know about the ISP Privacy Bill or S.J.Res. 34, here’s a quick brief so that we can advance to the real discussion:
- A Bill has recently been passed in the US House of Representatives (By the dominant votes of the Republicans) which nullifies the 2016 Privacy Law made by the FCC called, “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services“.
- This Bill will allow your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to sell your browsing history, internet consumptions habits, search history and data related to your health information, app usage, social security number and virtually any information that would help the advertisers in profiling you.
- The Bill is ready to be signed by President Donald Trump and is already placed on his desk by his administration.
Raise your hand if you'd like to see the complete browser histories of every member of Congress who voted against internet privacy.
— Amanda Watson (@amndw2) March 29, 2017
How The Bill Would Affect You, the Proud US Citizens?
This bill will allow big internet companies like AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communication and Verizon to collect and share your data with Advertising companies without your explicit consent. Now, one may argue that giants like Facebook and Google are already harvesting information like that and showing ads to its consumers, so why even bother if your ISP also starts doing it. Well, that is where the element of your “choice” comes in.
You see, you can always switch your search engine or opt out of Facebook to escape this intrusion of privacy, but when it comes to your ISPs, American internet users have little or no choice left but to agree to this clause and surrender their most precious possession, their privacy to the ISPs.
In Obama Era, the rules were made to protect user’s privacy and had a very clear approach to encourage the permission marketing concept, so the ISPs were bound to obtain the below-mentioned information only and that too with user’s legal consent:
- Financial Information
- Internet Browsing History
- Health Related Information
- Direct Family Related Information
But, with the latest amendments done by the Congress and backed by the Trump Administration, your ISP can:
- Collect, Store, Monitor and sell your data to Advertising Companies
- Inject cookies into your browser and place advertisements at their will
- Monitor and record your browsing patterns on your mobile devices
- Hijack your internet and redirect you to the web pages suggested by the advertisers
- Blatantly do anything with your data as it's up for grabs
It’s going to become a rat race for user’s data as soon as the Bill officially becomes the law. Scary, right?
— Don't Hit Save (@donthitsave) March 29, 2017
Here Are the Tools And Tips That’ll Save Your Precious Data from Being Spied upon by Your ISP
Now, the big question is, how to protect your treasure trove (Your Data) from getting in the hands of your ISPs? Well, first you have to understand that there are very few surefire ways that’ll help you completely eradicate this ISP spying menace. But, with that said, you can go for several methods to protect different aspects of your online activities from being spied upon by your ISP or third-party advertisers. Here are some:
- Choose A Reliable VPN Service: VPN is the number choice of experts around the world to encrypt your online communications and route your data through a secure and private tunnel.
- Use AdBlocker services: Ad Blockers like Ad Blocker Plus would help you stop seeing unwanted advertisements.
- Use Tor Brower: Tor encrypts your traffic to great extent hence providing higher levels of anonymity. Try Tor for browsing.
- Give Duck Duck Go a Go: Duck Duck Go is a search engine that doesn’t track you. No tracking means no advertisements. Try it.
American, Are You Ready To Take Action?
It's a real dilemma that the leaders' American citizens have elected, sold out their privacy and care less about them and more about their vested interests. But it's time for American Internet users to rise up and take some action. Internet users of today care more about their data and want to take complete control of what they want to share and what not.
Online Privacy and Security experts all over the world have given their verdict of using a VPN to protect themselves from ISP spying as by far this is the most effective method in sight. And after this whole rigamarole, industry have seen a huge spike in the search term for the word “VPN”.
So, now that you know what to do; do the right thing. It's time to take your privacy game to the next level. Fight for your online privacy as ‘The Power is Yours.”