Between the NSA and the Obama Administration “allegedly” wiretapping Trump Tower during the most recent Presidential Election, privacy seems like a hot button issue reserved for debate among politicians on Capitol Hill. However, a recent bill passed by Congress is going to hit much closer to home, and it’s critical to know what it means for the entire country.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to give internet service providers (ISPs) – such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T – the ability to collect and sell internet browsing activity of customers for advertising purposes. Before we go grabbing our pitchforks, allow PBJ to break down the arguments for and against the legislation.
The biggest argument for the legislation is that it is a proactive measure to avoid a one-size-fits-all regulation, and now the gather and trade of internet browser history will be placed under the watchful eye of the Federal Trade Commission. Specifically, Senate lead sponsor Jeff Flake wrote in a blog post that privacy and data security requirements will be calibrated to the sensitivity of the information collected. With such elements in place, Flake gave the example a user’s browsing history looking up baseball scores will be treated with the same sensitivity as their medical information or financial data.
According to Privacy News Online, privacy advocates argue that the legislation’s ultimate goal is to “remove hard-earned net neutrality regulations gained to protect your internet history from advertisers and worse…” There is also opposition from a surprising source – ISP providers. Numerous ISP companies claim that FCC rules put them at a disadvantage when competing against non-ISP companies that also collect user data, such as Netflix and Facebook.
Protect Yourself with a VPN
Regardless of your leanings on this issue, there is already a workaround available to make the ISP Legislation irrelevant to your household or business. Use a VPN. A VPN – or virtual private network – is a private network that uses encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure only authorized users can access the system and personal browsing data isn’t intercepted.
There are numerous VPNs available online for FREE so you can start protecting your data today!