Written by Jason Lee -
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added rules in October 2016 to protect user privacy. These rules prevented ISPs from selling your data without your permission. You have to explicitly opt-in to allow your information to be sold to marketing companies. These companies could then provide you with targeted advertising campaigns based on this data.
On March 24, 2017, the US Senate voted 50-48 to repeal these privacy rules. The republican-controlled House are now at the point where they will soon vote. This vote will either be in agreement with the Senate, or against. Another possibility is that President Trump could choose to veto the rule.
So what can you do to prevent your ISP from selling your browser data? The easiest option is to protect your data from outsiders through a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
There are many benefits to using a VPN. Not only does it provide increased security, it also offers greater convenience.
For example, having a VPN connection could allow you to do work away from the office. The VPN would allow you to connect direct to your workplace in a secure fashion. Because of the protections the connection has, you can rest assured that no one apart from you can access files.
Another benefit is on public WiFi connections. If you are in commercial premises that offer free WiFi, you can often be placing yourself at risk. Public WiFi spots often have relaxed security rules over what you might have at home, making it easier for threats to target you. With the right tools, someone can intercept your information on public WiFi and use it against you. A VPN connection helps prevent this.So what is a VPN and how do you use it?
Think of a VPN as a pipe. You are at one end of the pipe, and the VPN is at the other end. The information shared between you and the VPN is encrypted. It's scrambled in such a way that only your device and the VPN understands. It is the exchange between your device and the VPN that your ISP wants, as this allows them to see the sites you visit.
There are plenty of VPNs to choose from, so which one is best for you? Our list of VPN reviews can help you learn more about reputable VPN services. Keep in mind what you need, and the types of devices you need to protect. Whether it's a computer, a mobile phone, or a gaming console, VPN services can help protect the data from your ISP.
Be sure to read the fine print before you sign up. While plenty of free VPN services appear to tick the right boxes, they often come with a hidden price. What hidden price, you might ask? The one thing you're trying to prevent: your browsing data. As the old adage goes: if it's too good to be true, then it probably is.
Many free VPN services offer you protections from people seeing your data. What they might not tell you is that they may sell that data, or pass it on to law enforcement agencies if requested. It is rare for free services to give you security without paying a price, monetary or otherwise.