Repeal of Internet Privacy Protections
A Repeal of Internet Privacy Protections
Congress on Tuesday moved to dismantle online privacy rules created during the Obama era. The rules, which were scheduled to take effect this year, would have required internet providers to get permission before collecting and selling a customer’s online information, including browsing activities. The new F.C.C. rules had not taken effect, so you probably won’t notice any difference. Internet service providers have always been able to monitor network traffic, see what websites you visit and share some of that information with advertisers.
These companies provide your connection to the internet. Your gadgets are each assigned an identifier, called an IP address, and an internet provider can see which IP addresses are being used on your account.
When you are browsing the web, the service provider helps route your device’s internet traffic to each destination website. In other words, internet providers can see which devices you use and which websites you visit and choose to retain that data.
Why is this relevant?
When you first think about this it may seem like a bad thing, however, broadband companies occupy a different position than internet companies. This ruling would affect broadband companies like your internet providers (Cable One, COX, Century Link) but they wouldn’t affect the big internet companies (Facebook, Google) so it stops the internet companies from having a full monopoly over Internet advertising.
What this means to you?
Not much changes for you. The rules had not come into effect yet, and so you won’t notice much of a difference. The best bet is to always be safe with the information you share online, and be aware that whatever you post, someone may be watching.
There are a few steps you can take to bulk up your internet privacy:
- Create smart and strong passwords.
- Use email wisely.
- Be smart when using instant messaging (IM) programs.
- Shop safely.
- Watch out for phishing scams.
- Be aware of anything that seems free.
- Pay attention to your children’s online activities.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network) while using the Internet.
Meanwhile…safe browsing to you!