The Government won’t Protect your Privacy. Here’s how you can do it instead.

Last month Congress passed a resolution overturning an Obama-era FCC rule that mandated ISP’s to get their customers’ consent before sharing their browser history with other companies. The rules are additionally required ISPs to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any data breaches.

The resolution was passed by the Senate in a partisan vote and was promptly signed by the President shortly thereafter.  I have my own political beliefs and I’ll keep them to myself, the Internet has enough of people openly sharing their political opinions. Unlike most, I know I don’t have the whole story on just about every topic, so I’ll keep to the points I do know, and that’s internet security and your privacy.

This is extremely valuable to businesses, but I can’t see how this is a benefit to the American citizen in any way. During the previous elections and debates, at no time was something like this even discussed. I’m disappointed.

From the reading I did, the reason this got passed was because ISP’s stated that companies such as Google & Facebook were profiting off their consumers’ browsing habits…why couldn’t the ISP’s? Technically speaking, they’re right. These mega Internet titans aren’t your friends advocating for your privacy. We, the consumer, are the product.

What you don’t see here is that this is just a dog & pony show. None of this really actually matters. ISP’s have been able to sell your web browsing data for quite some time. It’s just something you didn’t realized you signed up for when you blew past the terms and services of your ISP contract. All this proved was that they can continue to still do just that.

“The consequences of passing this resolution are clear: broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and others will be able to sell your personal information to the highest bidder without your permission. No one will be able to protect you, not even the Federal Trade Commission that our friends on the other side of the aisle keep talking about.”

– Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Wrong. 

I beg to differ. We as tech savvy citizens of the internet do indeed have the ability to protect ourselves. Here are 4 tips I recommend:

  1. Clearing your cookies or your browsing history doesn’t help. They’re tracking the DNS queries and your actual internet traffic. The solution to this is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN for short). In my opinion, this is the best solution to protecting your internet traffic from ISPs. All an Internet service provider will see is encrypted VPN traffic…nothing more. However, you need to trust your VPN as they’ll see all the data. You need assurance that logs are not kept and your information is not being sent to a 3rd party. I highly recommend Private Internet Access. These guys are legit. It’s very simple to use. They support regular at home internet access, but also have VPN clients for Android and Apple as well. I don’t go anywhere unless I’m on a VPN.
  2. Don’t use Google. I know it’s so pervasive, it’s hard to get away from. Use search engines like DuckDuckGo.com instead.
  3. Chrome tracks your history even if you use other search engines, so try using a more security focused web browser that doesn’t phone back home to Mountain View or Cupertino CA. Tor Browser is probably the best known for protecting your privacy, but that can be a little much for some folks. Other browsers I recommend are Comodo DragonSRWare Iron Browser, or White Hat Aviator:
  4. Face it, if you sign up for a social network with online marketing, you’re going to be tracked for demographics. I recommend creating multiple profiles with fake data to follow businesses, celebrities, movies…basically anything other than your close friends and family.  There’s a new social network called Mastodon that I’ve discovered and I highly recommend. I need to feel it out some more, but I’ll be doing a blog post on Mastodon shortly.

One last takeaway here. I see so many people saying this is Trump’s fault. Partially they’re right. He did sign the resolution. However, the following people share an equal part of the blame:

US Senate: 

Alexander, Lamar TN
Barrasso, John WY
Blunt, Roy MO
Boozman, John AR
Burr, Richard NC
Capito, Shelley WV
Cassidy, Bill LA
Cochran, Thad MS
Collins, Susan ME
Corker, Bob TN
Cornyn, John TX
Cotton, Tom AR
Crapo, Mike ID
Cruz, Ted TX
Daines, Steve MT
Enzi, Mike WY
Ernst, Joni IA
Fischer, Debra NE
Flake, Jeff AZ
Gardner, Cory CO
Graham, Lindsey SC
Grassley, Chuck IA
Hatch, Orrin UT
Heller, Dean NV
Hoeven, John ND
Inhofe, Jim OK
Johnson, Ron WI
Kennedy, John LA
Lankford, James OK
Lee, Mike UT
McCain, John AZ
McConnell, Mitch KY
Moran, Jerry KS
Murkowski, Lisa AK
Perdue, David GA
Portman, Rob OH
Risch, Jim ID
Roberts, Pat KS
Rounds, Mike SD
Rubio, Marco FL
Sasse, Benjamin NE
Scott, Tim SC
Shelby, Richard AL
Strange, Luther AL
Sullivan, Daniel AK
Thune, John SD
Tillis, Thom NC
Toomey, Patrick PA
Wicker, Roger MS
Young, Todd IN

 

House of Representatives

Abraham, Ralph LA
Aderholt, Robert AL
Allen, Rick GA
Amodei, Mark NV
Arrington, Jodey TX
Babin, Brian TX
Bacon, Donald NE
Banks, Jim IN
Barletta, Lou PA
Barr, Andy KY
Barton, Joe TX
Bergman, Jack MI
Biggs, Andy AZ
Bilirakis, Gus FL
Bishop, Mike MI
Bishop, Rob UT
Black, Diane TN
Blackburn, Marsha TN
Blum, Rodney IA
Bost, Mike IL
Brady, Kevin TX
Brat, David VA
Bridenstine, Jim OK
Brooks, Susan IN
Buchanan, Vern FL
Buck, Ken CO
Bucshon, Larry IN
Budd, Theodore NC
Burgess, Michael TX
Byrne, Bradley AL
Calvert, Ken CA
Carter, Buddy GA
Carter, John TX
Chabot, Steven OH
Chaffetz, Jason UT
Cheney, Liz WY
Cole, Tom OK
Collins, Doug GA
Collins, Chris NY
Comer, James KY
Comstock, Barbara VA
Conaway, Mike TX
Cook, Paul CA
Costello, Ryan PA
Cramer, Kevin ND
Crawford, Eric AR
Culberson, John TX
Curbelo, Carlos FL
Davis, Rodney IL
Denham, Jeffrey CA
Dent, Charles PA
DeSantis, Ron FL
DesJarlais, Scott TN
Diaz-Balart, Mario FL
Donovan, Daniel NY
Duncan, Jeff SC
Dunn, Neal FL
Emmer, Thomas MN
Farenthold, Blake TX
Ferguson, Anderson GA
Fitzpatrick, Brian** PA
Fleischmann, Chuck TN
Flores, Bill TX
Fortenberry, Jeff NE
Foxx, Virginia NC
Franks, Trent AZ
Frelinghuysen, Rodney NJ
Gaetz, Matt FL
Gallagher, Mike WI
Garrett, Tom* VA
Gibbs, Robert OH
Gohmert, Louie TX
Goodlatte, Bob VA
Gosar, Paul AZ
Gowdy, Harold SC
Granger, Kay TX
Graves, John GA
Graves, Sam MO
Griffith, Tim AR
Griffith, Morgan VA
Grothman, Glenn WI
Guthrie, Steven KY
Harper, Gregg MS
Harriis, Andy MD
Hartzler, Vicki MO
Hensarling, Jeb TX
Hice, Jody GA
Higgins, Clay LA
Holding, George NC
Hollingsworth, Trey IN
Hudson, Richard NC
Huizenga, Bill MI
Hultgreen, Randy IL
Hunter, Duncan CA
Hurd, William TX
Issa, Darrell CA
Jenkins, Lynn KS
Jenkins, Evan WV
Johnson, Bill OH
Johnson, Sam TX
Jordan, James OH
Joyce, David OH
Katko, John NY
Kelly, Trent MS
Kelly, Mike PA
King, Steve IA
King, Peter NY
Kinzinger, Adam IL
Knight, Steve CA
Kustoff, David TN
Labrador, Raul ID
LaHood, Darin IL
LaMalfa, Doug CA
Lamborn, Doug CO
Lance, Leonard NJ
Latta, Bob OH
Lewis, Jason MN
LoBiondo, Frank NJ
Long, Billy MO
Loudermilk, Barry GA
Love, Mia UT
Lucas, Frank OK
Luetkemeyer, Blaine MO
MacArthur, Tom NJ
Marchant, Kenny TX
Marshall, Roger KS
Massie, Thomas KY
Mast, Brian FL
McCarthy, Kevin CA
McCaul, Michael TX
McHenry, Patrick NC
McKinley, David WV
McSally, Martha AZ
Meadows, Mark NC
Meehan, Patrick PA
Messer, Luke IN
Mitchell, Paul** MI
McMorris-Rogers, Cathy** WA
Moolenaar, John MI
Mooney, Alexander WV
Mullin, Markwayne OK
Murphy, Timothy PA
Newhouse, Daniel WA
Noem, Kristi SD
Nunes, Devin CA
Olson, Pete TX
Palazzo, Steven MS
Palmer, Gary AL
Paulsen, Erik MN
Pearce, Steve NM
Perry, Scott PA
Poe, Ted TX
Poliquin, Bruce ME
Posey, Bill FL
Ratcliffe, John TX
Reed, Thomas NY
Renacci, Jim OH
Rice, Hugh SC
Roby, Martha AL
Roe, Phil TN
Rogers, Mike AL
Rogers, Hal KY
Rohrabacher, Dana CA
Rokita, Todd IN
Rooney, Laurence FL
Rooney, Tom FL
Roskam, Peter IL
Ross, Dennis FL
Rothfus, Keith PA
Rouzer, David NC
Royce, Edward CA
Russell, Steven OK
Rutherford, John FL
Scalise, Steve LA
Schweikert, David AZ
Scott, James GA
Sensenbrenner, Jim WI
Sessions, Pete TX
Shimkus, John IL
Shuster, Bill PA
Smith, Jason MO
Smith, Adrian NE
Smith, Christopher NJ
Smith, Lamar TX
Smucker, Lloyd PA
Stewart, Chris UT
Stivers, Steve OH
Taylor, Scott** VA
Tenney, Claudia NY
Thompson, Glenn PA
Thornberry, Mac TX
Tiberi, Patrick OH
Tipton, Scott CO
Trott, Dave MI
Turner, Mike OH
Upton, Fred MI
Valadao, David CA
Wagner, Ann MO
Walberg, Timothy MI
Walden, Gregory OR
Walker, Bradley NC
Walorski, Jackie IN
Walters, Mimi CA
Weber, Randy TX
Webster, Daniel FL
Wenstrup, Brad OH
Westerman, Bruce AR
Williams, Roger TX
Wilson, Joe SC
Wittman, Rob VA
Womack, Steve AR
Woodall, Rob GA
Yoho, Ted FL:
Young, Don AK
Young, David IA

I don’t think it would help much, but I’ve always been told to write your senator and congressman/congresswoman. Supposedly that helps. In the meantime, protect yourself. No one will do it for you.

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