Do you feel secure submitting your personal information to the websites you visit? After Washington’s latest move, you may change your mind.
The online world was shocked last week when President Donald Trump approved a resolution that effectively repealed the privacy laws that prevent your internet service providers (ISP) from sharing and selling your personal information without your consent. You heard right. Because of the new legislation, big ISPs including Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T can now make significant profits off of your private personal details.
Why would such a measure be approved? Well, it is more about the companies than the public, as they are hoping for an even battlefield while potentially elevating profits.
Let’s get a little background on this complicated matter. In this complex Internet-driven society, there are two governing organizations.
There are currently major companies including Google and Facebook which are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which already allows these tech giants to sell or share your information if they so desire.
On the other hand, the big ISPs, including the companies listed above, are governed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
So, in a nutshell, before the new rule, the FCC allowed the selling of information, while the FTC did not.
This measure changes that and now just about every company can use your info for their viewing pleasure, including the major multi-product conglomerates like Time Warner and AT&T, which unlike Facebook and Google give you the option of usage, often have contracts which can be hard to leave.
To add insult to injury, if you think this can be reversed when a new politician comes onto the scene, think again, because the FCC is prohibited from passing new rules, so it seems that this new information sharing policy is here to stay, and no matter how you look at it, the intrusion is there.
How Does this Affect the Public?
When they say that companies now have free access to your information, we are not only talking about names, birthdates and credit card information.
This legislation includes everything you put online on just about every website with shareable information including your medical history, political views, sexual orientation and more. For the ISPs, gathering this info is as simple as reviewing the websites you frequent the most.
Now, this does not mean that these major companies are going to start immediately siphoning your private info at the word go. Instead, many of these ISPs are going out of their way to ensure that your information is safe with them.
How much the public believes the promise of major corporations is up to the individual, but regardless of your thoughts on the matter, is essential that you always protect yourself with surfing the net.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
Most casual internet users will see this new change as a major violation, but all is not lost. There are several protections you can employ to keep your data private.
One of the best ways you can protect yourself and the sites you visit is with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Easy to use and simple to set up, these private networks give you two profound benefits. They cloak your online activity so that any unneeded eavesdroppers cannot see what you view and they manipulate your IP address, so it looks as if you are logging on from somewhere else, confusing any potential identity thieves.
You can also protect yourself by using encrypted websites. Signified with an “https” or lock icon in the address bar, these sites provide further protection by encrypting the connection between their site and your browser.
As mentioned earlier, new legislation or not, these ISPs are vowing that they won’t sell or share your information. Still, these safeguards are essential for your general protection anytime you are online.
At The Factory Interactive, we also have your success in mind, and that is why we offer the engagement services that your brand needs. Contact us today to learn more.