How To Protect and Be In Charge of Your Online Privacy

On October 27, 2016, the FCC voted to require a user’s permission before ISPs were able to sell that user’s personal data to advertisers. On March 29, Congress voted to overturn Obama-era privacy legislation, and with it giving Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the ability to sell a consumer’s personal online data.

On April 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law.

While this left many questioning what this means for the common Internet consumer, most politicians and others working in the industry are convinced the vote will not change the amount of privacy the average consumer enjoys online.

“ISPs haven’t done this to date and don’t plan to because they respect the privacy of their customers,” NCTA spokesman Brian Dietz said to The Washington Post. “Regardless of the legal status of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules, we remain committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and safeguarding their information because we value their trust.”

Former FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc told The Washington Post most ISPs have privacy policies in place to avoid the sharing and selling of consumer’s private data, but that doesn’t mean other data aggregators aren’t collecting your online behaviors.

Regardless of how imminent the end of the private web may or may not be, there are numerous tools to protect you. New measures such as Internet Noise extensions generate constant and random searches via Google to clog up your browser history. While these can help camouflage your browsing habits, they’re not a sole answer to eliminate tracking.

Ad blocking isn’t a new development to most with major players like AdBlock Plus and uBlock leading the charge. Other options include Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which let users share data through public networks, but with the security and appearance of a private network.

Not one of these tools can do everything needed to protect your online privacy, but by staying informed on the technology and using the correct combination of tools, you can remain in charge of your Internet privacy.

Sources:

-https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/29/what-to-expect-now-that-internet-providers-can-collect-and-sell-your-web-browser-history/?utm_term=.9d925c7b5c2e

-https://www.wired.com/2017/03/wanna-protect-online-privacy-open-tab-make-noise/

-http://lifehacker.com/the-best-browser-extensions-that-protect-your-privacy-479408034

-http://gizmodo.com/5990192/vpns-what-they-do-how-they-work-and-why-youre-dumb-for-not-using-one

 

G.J. Melia