Our Information is Up for Grabs!

internetLast March we hopefully waited for the implementation of FCC regulations that would have taken effect this year. Those hopes were dashed as the new government scrapped the plan

The proposed regulations would has made the following conditions for broadband internet providers in some areas:

  • ISPs are required to be inform consumers that their information is being shared and with whom.
  • ISPs must get prior permission from consumers (i.e. users must opt in) before using “customer proprietary information.” That’s a category defined by the FCC and encompasses what you would normally expect to be protected — medical data, social security number — and adds information that is not inherently personal but the large scale tracking of which most people would disapprove of: web browsing history and application usage history. (This is the part that’s gotten the most coverage.)
  • ISPs must take “reasonable measures” in their security to protect that information, and in the event of a major breach (more than 5,000 accounts affected) must inform various parties, and the affected consumers, within a week.
  • No providing price breaks for lower privacy measures — for instance, lowering monthly charges if a consumer agrees to be tracked.
  • Notice was given (but no actual rule yet proposed) that the practice of forced arbitration, which limits the legal means consumers have for redress to companies internal processes, was soon to be reviewed as well.

What Internet Service Providers can do:

  • ISPs can record and sell your browsing history, data on what apps and services you use, and more.
  • ISPs don’t have to tell you what they collect or who they sell it to beyond what they volunteer to say in their privacy policy.
  • ISPs may or may not be required to notify you in case of a breach (this differs state by state).
  • ISPs can still force you to resolve complaints or violations in their internal system via forced arbitration.
  • ISPs could give subscribers a discount for agreeing to share personal information — but why bother when they get it for free?

How to avoid Being tracked:padlock

There are some ways to avoid being tracked.

  1. Using AddBlockerr in your browser.
  2. Disabling cookies
  3. Delete browser history as soon as you get off the internet.
  4. Here are some articles on ways and tools that you can use to feel more secure.

Please leave us a comment if you found this article helpful to you. We look forward to hearing from you.

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