The House of Representatives voted in March to repeal Internet privacy protections that were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the last days of the Obama administration. These protections, that had not gone into effect, would have required Internet service providers to acquire customer’s permission before collecting and sharing your data. This includes web browsing history, app usage, and geo-location. ISPs would have also had to notify customers about the types of information that they collected and shared. Most people think that browsing in private or incognito mode protects them, but this only stops the browser you are using from recording the websites you have visited. The ISP will still know where you have been. To ensure that your data is kept safe and private, here some options available.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi hotspots. It encrypts information that you send online so that only you and the VPN server can “see” it. Your ISP cannot track your activity if you are using one. Before choosing a VPN, do your research. Avoid free ones. You want to be certain that the provider is taking your privacy concerns seriously. One drawback to using a VPN is that browsing speeds slow down a little and some services cannot be accessed.
Not every ISP was happy about the privacy changes. Some opposed the legislation. You can sign up with a different ISP, but depending on where you live you might have few options. Do some research and see who is available in your area. If you find that you have options, change ISPs and save your data.
If you are thinking about switching, let your current ISP know. Many are expected to provide an opt out option and if they know you are thinking of leaving, they would rather have you opt out then lose your business.
Lastly, consider Tor. Tor is non-profit organization project that conducts research and development into online privacy and anonymity. The project is designed to stop people or agencies or governments from tracking habits and locations.