crn5000-inc2015 BPTW logo
Contact us today!
(918) 770-8738
 
 

Integrated Business Technologies Blog

Integrated Business Technologies has been serving the Broken Arrow area since 2007, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History?

How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History?

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission designed a set of rules known as the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal. These rules had intended to flip the status quo and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to gain their customers’ permission before they harvested their browsing histories to sell to advertisers. This proposal is now moot with the establishment of a new law that passed through Congress and was signed by President Trump in April 2017.

The huge levels of dissent surrounding this issue boil down to concerns over privacy. While the proposed rules didn’t necessarily prevent ISPs from selling your data for monetary gain, they would have required the ISP to secure permissions from you before they did so. The relationship between ISPs, the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) also played a major role. Many politicians who were opposed to these new rules felt that the FCC had no business determining rules for ISPs, as they felt that responsibility for that was better managed by the FTC.

This opinion was shared by the current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. However, while the FCC no longer has the authority to forbid ISPs from selling their user’s browsing data to advertisers, no power has been given to the FTC to prevent such activity, either.

The government’s actions have provided ISPs with the same abilities as search engines and social media sites, with a few changes. First of all, search engines and social media do not require any sort of purchase, which leads to an implied agreement that in exchange for their free services, they may use your browsing data to personalize the results they show you (although this personalization does allow marketers to target specific demographics of users, which is a very powerful tool for businesses that many users feel is invasive). ISPs, on the other hand, do charge for their services, meaning that this ruling effectively allows ISPs from making twice the profit from you. Furthermore, instead of just tracking your history on select sites and services, an ISP has access to analyze your entire surfing history and profit off of it.

So what does this all mean to you?
Well, that depends. It is possible that ISPs will target online advertisements based on your individual browsing history, emphasizing products and services that you have shown some interest in before. This isn’t new. Amazon, for example, has mastered this through the use of remarketing. While this could presumably lead to an improved browsing experience for many, there is considerable pushback coming from many advocates for privacy.

This is largely due to the fact that your ISP could harvest this data from almost anywhere, including your personal email accounts and any other online activity, in order to sell it, or at least allow marketers to capitalize on it. Depending on the data collected, this could potentially include personally identifiable information or sensitive account credentials--which could then be up for sale to whomever wanted to buy them from the ISP. Even if we weren’t worried about ISPs selling this type of sensitive data, it opens up another potential way for hackers to gather that data, if the ISP is lax on security.

This isn’t the only advantage the ISP gains, either. Under the rules that were scrapped, an ISP would have been required to alert their customers of a data breach. Arguing that this would only lead to ‘notification fatigue,’ the ISPs were also able to remove these rules, meaning that they are no longer obligated to inform you should your data be at risk.

So, how can you prevent your sensitive information from being collected?
Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. While ISPs still have free reign to collect your browsing data as they please, they are not able to do so if you opt out. This is not to say that all ISPs have made opting out easy, so you may have to make a phone call, and you have to take them at their word that they are no longer tracking you.

There are also some ISPs who are opposed to the privacy repeal, but around 80 percent of Americans have only one or two options for broadband in their area.

Utilizing a virtual private network is another option available to you, but this approach isn’t without its drawbacks, either. Just as an ISP can, a third-party VPN can access and sell your browsing data, if they so choose. For a personal user, a VPN can be costly and cumbersome, however businesses do benefit from them every day. Tor browsing is another option, although it is more complicated, slower, and can potentially be unsecure.

In short, there really isn’t an easy, guaranteed way to secure your browsing history against the peeping eyes of your ISP. All you can do is implement some of these methods to defend yourself to the best of your ability.

Comments

 
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Free Consultation

Sign up today for a
FREE Network Consultation

How secure is your IT infrastructure?
Let us evaluate it for free!

Sign up Now!

freeconsultation
 

Tag Cloud

Security Technology Privacy Managed Service Provider Business Management Tip of the Week Internet Microsoft Saving Money Cloud Business Computing Productivity Workplace Tips Backup Best Practices IT Services Hackers Hosted Solutions Mobile Devices Hardware IT Support Network Business Malware Email Software Small Business Data Smartphones Upgrade Communication Windows Server Mobile Device Management Microsoft Office Disaster Recovery Business Continuity VoIP Google Virtualization Miscellaneous Mobile Office Computer Efficiency Vendor Management Gadgets Innovation Social Media Quick Tips Holiday Windows 10 WiFi Mobile Computing Bring Your Own Device Best Practice Passwords Wireless Technology Apple Spam BYOD Users User Tips Operating System Smartphone Remote Monitoring Content Filtering Remote Computing Internet of Things Going Green History Alert The Internet of Things Trending Browser Big Data Android Office Information Technology Current Events Firewall IT Solutions Lithium-ion Battery Save Money Unified Threat Management IT Consultant Windows 8 Printer Tech Support Humor Saving Time Managed IT services Avoiding Downtime App Hard Drives Analytics Customer Relationship Management Facebook Gmail Marketing Excel Customer Service Computers Data Management Collaboration Apps Application Virus Network Security Office Tips Retail Maintenance Fax Server Ransomware Phishing Phone System Outlook IT service Health Business Growth Computer Repair Antivirus Employer-Employee Relationship Router Inbound Marketing Hacking Social Password Outsourced IT Digital Payment Artificial Intelligence PowerPoint VPN Presentation Risk Management Budget Training Automation Recovery iPhone Co-Managed IT Running Cable Administration Hiring/Firing Sports Printing Proactive IT Point of Sale End of Support Mouse LiFi Website Statistics Document Management Net Neutrality IBM Competition Mobile Device Network Congestion File Sharing Downtime Two-factor Authentication Social Networking Search Virtual Desktop USB Display Business Owner Tablet Encryption Hacker Programming User Help Desk Intranet Business Intelligence Analyitcs Money Education User Error Safety Licensing Settings Hosted Solution Augmented Reality Wireless Data storage Chrome Save Time Managed IT Piracy Cybercrime Robot Halloween Telephony Computer Accessories Entrepreneur Unified Communications Undo 5G PDF People Scary Stories Files Twitter Scam Computing Company Culture Office 365 Monitors Scheduling Private Cloud Touchscreen Deep Learning Domains Google Wallet Fun Writing Public Cloud Word Public Speaking Drones Cortana Social Engineering eWaste Buisness Identities Wearable Technology Sync Conferencing Backups Knowledge Environment CIO Solid State Drive PC Care Mobile Device Managment Alerts Value Legal Samsung Debate Macro Experience Compliance eBay Troubleshooting Heating/Cooling Alt Codes Leadership Cybersecurity Remote Support Streaming Media New Additions Consumers Crowdfunding Skype Print Server Regulations Text Messaging YouTube Typing Mobility Work Station Gaming Console IP Address Google Drive Congratulations LinkedIn Law Firm IT How To Video Surveillance Bandwidth Refrigeration Cryptocurrency Disaster Windows 8.1 Update Software Tips Recycling Google Docs Specifications Best Available Flexibility Cost Management Bitcoin Digital Signature Data Backup Memory Bluetooth Laptop communications Hacks Online Currency Adminstration 3D Wi-Fi Documents

Top Blog

Basically, any machine that uses fans and vents to cool itself can overheat if airflow is restricted. If you have used a laptop on your lap for an extended session, then you know what we are talking about when the computer becomes hot to the touch. Every portable device is designed a little diffe...
QR-Code

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

*Email
*First Name
*Last Name