ISPs Can Now Sell Your Data: How to Protect Yourself
Do you know that the Congress, followed by President Trump rolled back the protection that prevented ISP’s from collecting and selling personal consumer data this spring? The Internet Service Providers thus rejoiced as they profited from data sales, which were previously prohibited. Advertisers celebrated while consumers grumbled as their data would not be available for commercial use.
How ISPs can Collect Data
ISPs can collect the data for profit in several ways. ISPs can accumulate data on websites most visited by users by basic monitoring of internet activities and then monitor the time spent on the page, the links clicked or the products bought. ISPs can also use deep packet inspection to reveal personal information like name, age, and location thus being able to bolster demographic information of potential customers. Beacons found within mobile data too can be used to pinpoint the exact location of users. A few services have begun using this data as it noticeable with apps that remind of a coupon offer when in vicinity of a store. With the new regulations, the users to not have a choice of opting in or opting out. While there are drawbacks, there are also positive aspects such as ISPs would now be able to provide data on government requests in order to control terrorist or illegal activities. However, the data is at high risk of being used as a source of profit by the ISP itself.
Will ISPs Sell my Data?
Many people, rightly enough, have apprehensions about the ISPs usage of data for commercial purposes. They fear whether the ISP will stick to their commitment or get driven by market profits to sell data dishonoring the customer’s privacy. While Brian Deitz from Internet and Television Association has assured the customers through a talk with Washington Post that the legal status of FCC’s broadband privacy rules will not effect the company’s commitment to protecting the client’s privacy. He said that they value the customer’s trust and would ensure measures to safeguard the information. However, it is too early to comment on whether ISPs would submit to the temptation of making massive profits from customer data or continue to function on building loyalty to the customers.
What can I do to Protect my Data?
It is increasingly important by the day that the users are attentive and careful of their online behavior. It is best that they choose to use secure version of websites (HTTPS) as and when possible. However, using secure versions would not prevent ISPs from collecting data entirely but only reduce how much data would be made available. The Chrome App may be used to remember using HTTPS when possible. Another way to protect user data is VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). However, this solution to poses its own drawbacks, as some websites such as Netflix tend to block VPNs. Moreover, with China’s demands to pull them off the App Store, it is suspected that fewer VPNs will be available in the near future.
As the solutions to protecting online data diminish, it gets essentially important that you guard your offline data. It is best to backup your data at regular intervals and in the case of data loss, rely on Platinum Data Recovery for best data recovery solutions.