4 Things You Should Know About How Your Internet Privacy Just Died

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4 Things You Should Know About How Your Internet Privacy Just Died

internet online privacy fcc vote vpn.jpg

1) THE BILL WOULD BE PASSED TO PRESIDENT TRUMP

The US House of Representatives has just voted to repeal the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) privacy regulations on Internet Service Providers.

Just last week the Senate had already voted (50-48) to pass the bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would block the rules under the Congressional Review Act.

The House voted to repeal the rules in a 215-205 vote, now all that is left is for the proposed legislation to be passed to President Trump who is expected to sign it.

2) HOW THE INTERNET PRIVACY BILL CONCERNS YOU

Do you want the choice and freedom to have free flow of content on the Internet? Do you wish to have a say in whether your ISP can track your every move online and sell that information to the highest bidder?

If you answered “Yes” to both of these then the voting to kill the FCC privacy rules should concern you.

Under current regulations, the FCC rules protects Internet users in several ways:

  • It forbids ISPs and broadband providers from sharing your ‘sensitive’ information such as your browsing history, app usage, geographic location, content of communications etc.
  • It gives users the option to opt-out of sharing ‘less-sensitive’ information such as your name, address, IP address etc.
  • It limits ISPs from selling your information to third-party marketers for advertising.
  • Notify customers in the event of any data breaches.
  • Ensure net neutrality by prohibiting ISPs from charging fees for faster internet or favouring their own content over competitors.

3) WHY IS IT BEING REPEALED

All these privacy rights could be revoked with just one signature from President Trump.

But why would anyone want to kill FCC’s Internet privacy rules if it is protecting the people?

Since the internet privacy regulations were passed by the FCC just a mere five months ago in October 2016, it has stirred up controversy.

Republicans, ISPs and broadband companies argue that since ‘edge-providers’ (Internet companies such as Google and Facebook) are allowed to collect user data to generate revenue via targeted ads, the rules are tougher on Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

They believe that there is an imbalance in the restrictions imposed and that these Internet providers should also be able to collect consumer data for advertising revenue.

4) WHAT WORKS FOR ONE, NOT NECESSARILY WORKS FOR ANOTHER

However, many also argue that ‘edge provider’ companies are not the same as your broadband providers or ISP.

The difference lies is the nature of both types of companies and the access of your data they have:

  • For instance, an edge provider like Google only has access to snippets of your online information, perhaps when you are using Google devices such as your Android mobile or Chrome browser. Your ISP, in contrast, has access to virtually every part of your online activities.
  • Edge companies’ services are free. Whenever a user uses a free service, there is usually a certain trade-off in your online data that is expected when using free services. On the other hand, ISPs and broadbands already charge you for their services, which often do not come cheap as well.
  • Users have the option to switch between edge provider services. Don’t like Google? Switch to DuckDuckGo. The same is harder to be said between ISPs where users do not have as much freedom of choice.

NOW MORE THAN EVER IS THE TIME TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY

“We reveal who we are by where we go…and there’s a lot of sophisticated targeting you can do if you know a person’s internet life.”

Your online data and your browsing information are worth money for all kinds of companies scrambling to get your hands on it or to sell your browsing history to the highest bidder.

Online, you are the product and your habits online shape the way companies and retailers will target you or show you different prices on products.

(Read how companies are charging you more because of your online habits)

At BolehVPN, we have mentioned time and time again of our praise in the use of TOR and VPNs if you are concerned with encrypting your Internet traffic so that your ISP cannot see it.

As we covered in an earlier post, there are slight differences in both TOR and VPNs although both aim to help you prevent others from tracing your Web browsing back to your IP address and logging your activities.

If the thought that your Internet privacy is one step away from being stripped from you, and your online browsing could be sold to the highest bidder without your consent scares you, then perhaps it is time to start taking your own measures to save your Internet privacy.

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