BREAKING: The Gov’t Just Sold Your Internet Privacy To Corporations… Here’s How To Protect Yourself

March 29, 2017

By Kit O’Connell

Republicans just voted to roll back FCC privacy protections that would have prevented your internet service provider from selling your private browsing history.

After passing the Senate earlier in the week, the House approved a measure on Tuesday which would allow broadband providers like AT&T, Spectrum or Comcast to sell your online data to marketers (as well as corporate and government spies).

The vote in both chambers was split along party lines, with the GOP voting in favor of selling your porn habits to just about anyone who cares to pay for them, including maybe future employers. Naturally, many of these legislators were also the recipient of large donations from the telecommunications industry.

The vote freed ISPs of “protections approved just last year that had sought to limit what companies could do with information such as customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers,” according to Brian Fung of The Washington Post. The rules also mandated that ISPs offer their customers stronger protection against hackers.

Not only would the bill, which Pres. Donald Trump is expected to sign into law, roll back the privacy protections which were finalized in October 2016 and due to go into effect at the end of the year, it would also block the FCC from ever writing similar regulations again.

In a March 19 analysis, Jeremy Gillula, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, outlined “five creepy things” your ISP can do without these protections in place. In addition to selling your data to marketers, ISPs can hijack your search results to suit their (or advertisers’) whims, insert additional advertising into your online experience, or even slip secret tracking cookies into all your unencrypted web traffic.

Worst of all, Gillula noted that all of these bad ideas have already been implemented to one extent or another, even before Congress voted to piss all over your privacy, but there’s every reason to believe these corporations will be emboldened now that they know that the FCC won’t try to put the brakes on their greed.

There are inexpensive ways to protect yourself from most of this creepy shit. The simplest method, suitable for most of us, is to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Originally created for corporate security, today the most common use of VPNs is to provide an extra layer of privacy from anyone — like ISPs — that want to snoop on your browsing. With a VPN, all your internet traffic will first pass through your VPN provider’s servers, which will mean fewer records of where you’ve been and little to no data for your ISP to sell.

It’s possible, and relatively simple, to setup a VPN on Windows, Mac OS, and both iOS and Android phones. Since there are so many options, rather than recommend a specific VPN, I recommend you look for a good deal on VPN access, then check that company’s reviews on security blogs. You shouldn’t have to pay much money for a reasonably safe and reliable VPN provider.

Keep in mind, while a VPN should protect you from ISPs selling your browsing history and some other security risks, it won’t provide total anonymity or significant protection from police or government surveillance. You’ll still need to take additional steps, like using encryption through apps like Signal, to protect your communications, especially if you’re engaged in activism.

Beyond these immediate concerns, we can expect this anti-privacy bill to be the first of many attacks on our online freedoms coming down the pike. Since our lives increasingly depend on the internet, we all need to be more watchful for the next attack.

(If you enjoyed or found this article important, please SHARE IT. You can also sign up for the free email newsletter. You can do it in the sidebar to the right or by texting the word ‘REDACTED’ to 444999. )¬†

Share Button

Comments ( 9 )

  1. C..Q

    Winter Soldier... I think 'they' may be right.

  2. Techtapod

    I was under the wrong assumption that they believed in the freedom of rights, but never knew that were just some lame claims. At the end of the day, they are just after our money and that's all. Want me to give you a free advice? Use and save your online privacy for good.

  3. EAM

    Marcy, exactly,, This is to kill anymore lawsuits like the 80 villages that are suing their own state for allowing 5g to be attached to any Ohio state or local infastructure without paying or informing any of the municipalities. This way, companies using israeli designed toolsmade at the Technion under Operation Talpiot, like the one they used to "hack" the San Bernardino shooters iPhone, cah determine who are leading the charge against Zionist owned corporations and neutralize or suppress them. Great post Lee, still fighting!

  4. Winter Soldier

    By the time you morons figure out what's really happening, it will be too late. NoSuchAgency (NSA) will never pay a cent for that data, because they tapped the hard lines at ALL the network hubs in the entire country. They capture the entire data stream of every major carrier, not just web traffic, but voice and txt as well. So they can go back in time, and investigate you after the fact, at minimum for the last 15-20 yrs. That's why they built that massive data complex in the midwest, because they have mountains of raw data. They already know everything about us. They map out our family and social networks, so they can strike those that might help you, and use next-gen Quantum computers, to model, simulate and predict our future actions. The cowards and traitors that make all this possible, couldn't fight their way clear of a paper bag... They probably organized a special NSA task force just to monitor Lee Camp/known associates/and this thread right here... To them I say.... this is real life, you aren't destroying a system, but a Nation, a Republic, her people, her past and future... You subverted your purpose, neglected your duty and stood idle in the face of the enemy. So the 60,000+ keyboard cowboys in Maryland pose zero threat to anyone, and will be the first to be eliminated... on second thought, they would probably just be abandoned, since they are weak helpless in the real world. World of Warcraft is a fantasy land, and every second you waste indulging it, is that much weaker you become, that much slower, until you become a shadow of your former self, and can be of no service to this Republic. I would sign my name, but it seems a bit redundant at this point. This country makes me sick. There's good people here, but the 98% don't have clue. You recognize the government as the problem.... then turn around and act like the government should do something... you just can't agree on what... healthcare, no healthcare. It's irrelevant dumbass !!!!! The country is so far in debt, we can't even make the interest payment on what we've borrowed. The ship is sinking and everybody is trying to figure out where the best place to stand is......

  5. chef124s

    What are you prepared to do?

  6. Rass

    Unfortunately quite a few sites and services block access from known VPN IP address blocks, I wouldn't be surprised if they have a means to detect if a connection is coming through a VPN without preexisting IP lists either. Some ISPs also arbitrarily throttle you hard when they detect traffic that indicates a VPN is being used.

  7. Lou Plisken

    You need to do better than this. You know about vault 7 and that means, I hope, you at least scrolled to the bottom of the wikileaks.org page and clicked on the tabs for tor and TAILS. Those things are free and protect your privacy a shit ton more than any VPN ever could. You didn't even provide a guide to how to be safe online. Maybe tell people about browser add-ons that prevent data leaks. Maybe things like user agent spoofers, Ublock, NoScript, ref-control, this guide: https://vikingvpn.com/cybersecurity-wiki/browser-security/guide-hardening-mozilla-firefox-for-privacy-and-security, that gives you simple step by step instructions to harden your firefox browser. ANd if you are serious about online privacy, You would mention that OS-X and Windows are totally fuckballed and you have to use debian or your OS and possibly BIOS will also spy on you.

  8. Marcy

    Really appreciate the head's up. Of even greater importance is the imminent (if not already passed roll out of country-wide infrastructure to support 5G technology, which will microwave at increasingly lethal rates every living thing on the planet. The bills are S. 19 and S.88. Please spread the word to your viewers that they need to call their senators to put the casaba on this. All it takes is one to block it. If this goes forward, we will all go the way of the bees, buzzing in dazed circles on the ground, with our days truly numbered.

  9. dsmann1@yahoo.com

    These (R) idiots have NOT learned anything from their failure to pass trumpcare!! We demand legislation that helps the 98%, not hurts us!!! Last week was a great time for the millions of people who stood up and said we are not gonna give $300 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while throwing 24 million people off of health insurance. But please remember, our goal is to provide health care to every man, woman and child in this country. American's deserve better!!!! RESIST the GOP & trump's criminal stupidity!!! Both parties are totally corrupt, useless and cannot be trusted by the 98%! We need Bernie and a 3rd party!! Resist the insanity of Trump!!! https://draftbernie.org

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>