So, you think Net Neutrality will be the only thing the FCC and Trump administration are going to steal from you? You’re in for a big surprise. In reality, you’ve already lost a big chunk of your privacy online and you probably haven’t even realized it yet. As you already know, your browser tracks your searches and saves this information on your computer.
Your search history is used to determine the context ads that you see day in and day out. Veteran Internet users are already savvy enough to know how to wipe their history clean and prevent their browser from storing this information. Also, many browsers offer a private browsing mode, which allows the user to avoid storing this information. Google Chrome already offers to delete this information automatically. With a Google account, you can view the information stored already by visiting myactivity.google.com.
It is also important to realize that a third party will be able to view this information! Your ISP or wireless carrier has free reign over this information and can use it as they please. Even if you take the time to delete the data after each use, your Internet service provider can still track you down pretty easily. It is undeniably true that your Internet service provider knows more about you than your family, your friends and your shrink. In today’s tech-crazed society, data is power and the IPS will most definitely benefit from possessing your information.
Comcast, AT&T and Frontier might not use this information in an inoffensive way, but they do sell it to third parties without your consent. Before leaving the White House, President Obama helped put measures in place to protect the privacy of users. The Obama administration deemed it necessary for the cable companies to get permission from consumers, before sharing their information. This would include your financial, health and matrimonial data. Thanks to Obama, your browsing history, app usage, children’s information and social security numbers could not be used without your knowledge.
Even if your ISP used your information, it was forced to give you a way to opt out. Before signing up with the company, you would be provided with a contract that shows exactly what the company will collect and how they will use it. Now, this is all about to change. As soon as AjitPai took office, he made it clear that he had the intention of rolling back these rules for good. Unfortunately, he has already gotten full support from the House and Senate. Both have already voted to repeal the laws put in place by the Obama White House.
ZDNet.com submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act asking for the browsing history of all web and mobile browsers used by Pai on any government network of account since March of 2016. Despite the privacy rules already being revoked, the FCC replied that it did not have record of the Chairman’s browsing history. While Pai’s browsing history is in safe hands, yours is not. It is available for a price. Many broadband providers use find text in their private policy notions. AT&T and Spectrum claim that they will not sell you data to anyone. Comcast and Verizon have been far more evasive.
According to Verizon, “aggregate and de-identified data may be used to improve our services, measure and analyze the use of services and to help make services and advertising more relevant to you.” Verizon does allow the user to opt out however. Xfinity simply doesn’t care. The company admits that “we may also provide information like subscriber lists to certain de-identified, anonymous, and/or aggregate information (such as activity data) to third parties working on our behalf – such as audience measurement or market research firms.” It is clear that your data can easily be classified as activity data.
It is vital to realize that the Internet is no longer just a tool for communication and entertainment. It is not a staple of modern life. If a person is able to observe your browsing history, they’ll know more about you than anyone and there should be laws to prevent this from happening. When a person does this, it would be referred to as stocking. When a big company does it, the Senate and FCC sweep it under the rug and call it business. What is really the difference between the United States and Russia or China? Will all Americans be watched online by secret services across the country?
Will consumers be forced to sell their laptops, computers and mobile devices to reacquire their privacy? It might be possible to go ahead and sell my MacBook, iMac, iPhone and set-top box, but this seems extreme. There is a good chance that some will switch to a VPN, but this could a problem as well. There is a good chance that the VPN lobby has a hand in it all and their revenue may soon skyrocket. The future is definitely frightening for modern Americans.