James Patterson | 22 May 2017
The very day after the infamous overturning of FCC privacy rules – which would forbid internet service providers from selling users’ browsing history to advertisers – New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo) introduced a bill to ban that practice in New York.
Last year, the FCC enacted regulations to prevent ISPs from selling their customers’ private data – namely, their location and browsing history – without their explicit consent. Then earlier this month, those rulings were repealed, essentially letting ISPs once more have free reign with customer information, and allowing them to pad their wallets while marketing agencies create targeted advertisements with that data.
Said Kennedy in a statement, “When voters across the country elected this House and US Senate last November, I doubt they were voting with the hope that their ISP would be allowed to sell their browsing history. This kind of anti-consumer, anti-privacy action doesn’t benefit anyone except large corporations. This is not an abstract threat to regular folks – this is bad policy with real world consequences. The legislation I have introduced will ensure these actions never make it to New York State.”
While this is a win for online privacy in New York, the rest of the country is still in bad shape. What can the average internet user do to protect their privacy and avoid having their information sold?
Fortunately there are still ways to browse the internet anonymously, and without too much difficulty either. Using a VPN service allows you to conduct your browsing privately by rerouting your internet traffic through the VPN server instead of your ISP.
To external parties, using a VPN will look like your requests are being sent by the VPN server instead of your actual PC, making it impossible to trace the activity back to you. To your ISP, they will only see that you connected to some VPN server somewhere; they won’t be able to see what you do after that. A VPN encrypts your data so that it would just be a bunch of gibberish to someone trying to read it. The only party who will be able to see all of your information is the VPN server itself, which is why it’s important to ensure that your provider doesn’t retain activity logs.
Whether you’re in New York or not, a VPN provides the safest and most reliable way to protect your online privacy. If you’re concerned about your information being sold but are unsure what to do about it, consider using a VPN service to gain peace of mind about your online privacy.
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