Senate Passes Bill to Grant ISPs Permission to Sell Geolocation and Browsing History for Advertising.
In this digital age, anyone using Google or Facebook is used to having their information sold for advertising purposes. However, we give our consent for the companies to use this information. The US Senate recently voted to eliminate broadband privacy rules that would have required ISPs to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other companies. This includes information such as geo-location data, financial and health information, children’s information, Social Security numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications. This comes in the wake of an FCC decision to halt a data-security regulation that would have required ISPs and phone companies to take "reasonable" steps to protect customers' information from theft and data breaches. ISPs will be able to “draw a map” of where families shop and go to school, detect health information by seeing which illnesses they use the Internet to gather information on, and build profiles of customers' listening and viewing history. Privacy seems to have been a passing trend in our society. In this new world, where personal conversations, preferences, and browsing habits are all being recorded and sold, how do you protect yourself?
How to Protect Yourself
Using a browser's private or incognito mode will not protect against the interception of your web traffic because it is taking place on the network layer. However, ISPs can't see encrypted traffic, so if you visit an HTTPS site such as this one, the ISP will only see the root domain. The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a Chrome extension called HTTPS Everywhere which offers greater protection for users of websites that only offer limited encryption via HTTPS. If the website does not support HTTPS, this extension will be of no use.
Use of a secure VPN to conceal web traffic is a popular means of preventing your ISP from monitoring your traffic and the content of your browsing. A VPN is a service you pay to proxy and encrypt your web traffic in order to protect your privacy. However, you have to trust your VPN provider not to be monitoring / logging your traffic. Many VPN services are extremely private (as privacy is their primary value).
Tor and onion networks are another example of a privacy-focused technologies that conceal your browsing. With Tor, all that can be seen is your connection to an exit-node and nothing else. Tor has a distributed network that attempts to preserve anonymity by running traffic through multiple relays. But not even Tor is entirely secure.
Securable has confronted this challenge through a proprietary DNS system for use in place of your ISP's DNS and encrypts your DNS traffic to help prevent interception or theft. With Securable's Shadow IT you are also able to monitor your DNS traffic to understand what types of SAAS applications are being used within your organization. Securable will never share or sell your information to advertisers.
It's not too late to contact your congressperson to let them know how you feel about this issue. But ultimately the only one who can protect your privacy is you. Browse safe and rely on trusted organizations to help protect your data from hackers and ISPs in the fight for privacy.
Learn more about how Securable helps protect your privacy