WSJ: With Washington’s Blessing, Telecom Giants Can Mine Your Web History

From the Wall Street Journal piece: https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-washingtons-blessing-telecom-giants-can-mine-your-web-history-1490869801

What if your telecom company tracked the websites you visit, the apps you use, the TV shows you watch, the stores you shop at and the restaurants you eat at, and then sold that information to advertisers?

In theory, it’s possible, given the stance Washington is taking on online privacy.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted to overturn privacy rules that required telecom companies to get customers’ permission before sharing their web-browsing and app usage history with third parties. The White House said Wednesday President Donald Trump intends to sign the measure into law.

This changes everything: Congress has voted to overturn Obama-era internet privacy rules. Now the path is clear for telecom giants like Verizon and AT&T to build detailed profiles of their customers’ behavior and sell that information to marketers.

In theory, routing your traffic via a secure link to an external VPN should obfuscate your activities from your ISP. You can still be tracked using web beacons, but there are things you can do to mitigate those as well (e.g., opt out on your browser, use a reputable ad blocker).

And there are downsides to using a VPN (streaming services like Amazon Video often block them as they are used to circumvent policy). I need to think about this more, but if Trump signs this I will like start looking for a solid VPN provider.

BTW, it is totally ludicrous to suggest ISPs need to be on a “even” footing with Google and Facebook. You have an option whether or not to use Google or FB. You do not have an option to not use an ISP if you want to use the Internet. And the big incumbents are there because they were granted franchises by the government, so to suggest the government should not regulate them is irony at best.

imageAre you still reading? Then you care. Here is an initiative that hopes to sway lawmakers away from enacting laws to remove more of our privacy protection.

I think I care share a few bucks to this crowdfunding effort to make this happen. Just imagine finding out how much Ryan really loves hamsters. Who knew?

Stay frosty folks, this is going to be a long battle with these folks.

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Internet, Politics, privacy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WSJ: With Washington’s Blessing, Telecom Giants Can Mine Your Web History

  1. Gandalfe says:

    Interesting addition from a friend: As an aside, cable companies are close to extinction as broadband will replace cables as the medium of internet access. So in my case, my ISP would be Google (Fi) anyway so they already have a rich profile on me.

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