Yesterday’s repeal of the FCC landmark Internet privacy protections law has opened a chasm that will now expose the privacy of every person on the web. As the article in the Washington Post stated today –[The removal of the law] “freed Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast 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. The rules also had required providers to strengthen safeguards for customer data against hackers and thieves.”
Why this is so important for each individual:
Imagine you are surfing the web trying to determine what medical illness you have. As we know, thousands of people search Dr. Google each and every day to determine private medical matters. Although Google tracks this information routinely, now your neighborhood ISP will have the power to record that search and begin accumulating potentially embarrassing information on you. Let us say the condition is something you don’t want too many people knowing about. A hostile individual or company then buys the information from the ISP “for marketing purposes” and then promptly tries to blackmail you, or exposes all the information all on the Internet.
There are many vulnerable populations that are now legally able to prey using your purchased privacy histories. One of these populations could be individuals exploring if they are LGBT. Another population would be the elderly. Worse yet, the data is now will be stored in database repositories that can be data mined by anyone with access or who hacks into the databases. This opens up an entire new world of personal espionage and data mining against an unsuspecting public.
The repeal of this law opens up an entire new angle of corruption and a deep invasion of every person’s privacy. Allison Woolbert stated “Internet Privacy laws and the protection for United States Citizens were just gutted by the Trump Administration and Congress. An individual’s right to surf the web independently and anonymously has now become a commodity to sell to companies (even overseas companies in Russia, China, etc), Additionally, the protections that ISP providers were required to safeguard their customers has now been eliminated opening up your private information to hackers and thieves on the internet. “
The situation is not hopeless! Things you can do to maintain your privacy and safeguard your personal information.
Change your DNS Server
So, what is a DNS server? In simple terms a DNS Server translates your IP Address (Google.com is 188.8.131.52). The server has a name that is assigned to a specific IP address. The entire internet works through DNS servers across the country. When you go into a browser and type www.phxconsultants.com the name translates on the worlds DNS servers to the proper address and traffic is routed to that server. If you are using your ISP provider’s DNS, you are giving them every address you visit . Changing your DNS will give you more privacy for your online surfing. You can find information on how to change your system’s DNS here. We recommend using OpenDNS or SafeDNS that does not give your information to your ISP so easily.
Use an anonymous browser like TOR.
So, what is a TOR browser and why would you want to use it? The best answer to that question is found right on the TOR website.
“Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”
In short, TOR allows you to block ISP’s from gaining the information to sell regarding your web surfing.
On smart phones change to Orbot (a TOR browser for phones)
TOR is also available for your phone via an application called Orbot. Orbot is a smart phone version that stops your phone carriers from tracking your browsing history as well.
Who is Allison Woolbert
Allison Woolbert is the CEO of Phoenix Consultants Group. With over 34 years of experience as an Information Technology systems innovator, Ms. Woolbert has demonstrated expertise in server management, disaster recovery planning, regulatory compliance, business analysis, client interactions, system architecture, technical writing, analysis, programming, database development, and support. Her unique abilities to bring cutting-edge technical expertise to each and every project–as well as her outstanding customer support–provides her clients with meaningful project outcomes, as well as the great service they deserve. Learn more about Allison Woolbert at www.phxconsultants.com.