Is your Online Privacy safe?
Over the last few weeks, there have been numerous articles from tier one media outlets, claiming the acceptance of the privacy bill will completely remove every bit of online confidentiality away from US internet users. The news made global headlines at the end of March, and it has been a hot topic since. What is mostly seen around the web is the fact that the Republican-led House and Senate are trying to hurt your online privacy.
As a repercussion, multiple individuals and companies, including Google, apparently have filed lawsuits against the decision. This is as funny as it is a well-known fact that tech giants such as Google and Facebook have been collecting and taking advantage your digital prints for years. Companies such as Facebook have practically built their business model on generating revenue by collecting and using your data.
ISPs and digital print
There are a few shocking statements around the web that we wanted to address.
One of the most common things we see is the fact that ISPs will get to know all your deepest and very personal secrets about your life. According to most mainstream publications, ISPs will know everything about you and your internet presence.
We are sorry to break it to you, but your data has been available to third party companies for years.
Nowadays, if you do not use protection, your digital print is everywhere. Google has been even kind enough to let you know that when using Chrome on your mobile handset or computer your employer, Internet provider and the companies whose websites you are visiting will know who you are. Some of them, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Google; are not regulated by the FCC and have been able to trade and make a profit out of your digital information for years. Your ISPs already have the data, now they will be allowed to share it with others.
Your Internet history and habits are accessible
Another shocking statement is the fact that government agencies such as NSA and FBI will have access to all your internet history and habits. The truth is that the government has had access to your information for years. It may sound scary, but this is the truth. If you think the government is after you, the acceptance of the bill should not bother you at all. The FBI has always been able to access your information the old-fashioned way by sending subpoena or a warrant to your ISP or mobile carrier.
So even though that Comcast and Verizon went out with statements they did not trade your information before the FCC’s rules were adopted and they do not have plans to do so in the future, it is a well-known fact that they have been taking advantage of your information somehow or another. Depending on the settings on your phone, when you enter a Verizon Wireless store you are immediately notified about the latest promos. Sometimes you walk past one of their locations, and you get an invitation to stop by and see them. Targeted advertising on its finest! This comes by an agreement you did not even read when signing for the next phone contract.
And the location sharing… remember your sales rep asking you if you wish to be tracked? No. Because they don’t tell you but adjust the settings on your phone so you can be tracked. When they set up the phone, they just hit accept on everything and hand you the fully equipped and working device.
The last statement we want to address is the fact that many publications and “experts” advise you to use VPN services claiming they are the biggest winners.
Technically, the biggest winners are the ISPs as they will be able to make an extra buck by finally being able to share your data with third-party companies legally. ISP lobbyists are excited about Trump’s FCC decision, as they finally will be able to get a piece of the pie. Other winners are the VPN service providers. We will be making a post solely on the dangers of using VPN soon. As for now, bear in mind that some of the VPNs as run by shady organizations in countries where legal system against cyber crimes is non-existent. And the US government does not have direct control over them.
It is not a secret there are malicious VPN services which are not regulated by anyone. I am sure you do not want to share all your web traffic information including banking information with a company governed by the laws of the Republic of the Congo. Sometimes you have to pick the best out of the worst, better share your habits of watching kitty videos online with your ISP vs. sharing all your banking details with people whose primary accounts are in bitcoins.
So stay tuned.
And stay safe by being protected. Not having an antivirus software on your connected device is similar to walking through a jungle without a mosquito repellent. You may get a pinch, or malaria, or not even realize your blood is being sucked away. Be prepared!