Internet Privacy Rules Repealed: What this Means for You

Internet Privacy Laws

Last month, on March 23, 2017, a set of internet privacy rules were repealed. These rules would have required consent to be given for internet service providers (ISPs) to sell your browsing data.

In early 2015, the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) classified ISPs as a utility. This is much like your water, or electricity. This change in classification opened the doors for net neutrality laws. These laws made it illegal to throttle internet bandwidth based on what the user was doing (i.e streaming videos online or other high usage activities).

These laws also meant that ISPs had to follow privacy guidelines. These guidelines protect the user’s privacy and information. For example, telemarketers are required to have a do not call list and can only call within certain hours of the day. For internet users, these rules protect your browsing history, data, and personal information.

A Red "for sale" stampWhat do ISPs want to do with my online data?

Much of the internet is now ad based. Those ads are developed to target specific groups of people. Often they are targeted for having certain interests or online behaviors.

ISPs want to sell your data to advertising agencies to better market products and service to you through ads. This data includes the web pages you visit and personal information. It can even include financial or medical information.

What can I do to protect my privacy online?

The current solution to protecting yourself online is to invest in a VPN or virtual private network. This service can hide your data from your ISP. And hiding your data from your ISP will prevent them from being able to sell your information.

VPN services usually have a monthly fee and it is important that your choose one that explicitly protects your privacy. This will enable you to to have more control of your online privacy.

Beware of VPN scams

With the newfound popularity of VPNs, many scam services are popping up offering cheap services that don’t actually protect your information or identity. And, unless you are knowledgeable in this area, it is very hard to tell which services are legitimate and which are not.

You are always welcome to reach you to ESI Comm for information and advice on all of your IT needs.