How To Protect Your Online Privacy Now That Congress Sold You Out
“All your private online data—the websites you visit, the content of your chats and emails, your health info, and your location—just became suddenly less secure. Not because of hackers, but because Congress just blocked crucial privacy regulations. This will allow your internet service provider to collect all your data and sell that info to the highest bidder without asking you first. Welcome to a brave new world.
A pair of resolutions, which passed through the Senate and House with exclusively Republican votes, roll back rules proposed by the Democratic leadership of the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration which, though passed in October, had not yet gone into effect.
The rules—which will be completely dead following the expected signature of President Trump—would have required ISPs to get explicit opt-in approval from customers before selling the following “sensitive data”:
This doesn’t just mean that sharing that information without your explicit permission will be fine and dandy. Since the rules were rolled back through the Congressional Review Act, the FCC is also barred from creating any “substantially similar” rules down the line.
In theory, the information collected will be stored under some sort of ID separate from your actual name. But that’s a cold comfort considering the level of detail in this sort of information would make your identity a dead giveaway, and ISPs can hardly be trusted to keep your identifying information suitably safe from prying eyes. After all, they’ll be building dossiers any hacker would love to steal.
What to do? There are a few things you can do to try and keep your data safe, and while they aren’t necessarily easy or free, they’re worth it if you value your privacy.
Opt out with your ISP
Your ISP may not need your permission to sell your data, but you can still go to them and tell them not to do it. The catch, of course, is this requires you to be proactive, and there’s no real guarantee that this will protect you completely. Still, do it. Get on the phone or visit the website of your ISP and opt out of every ad-related thing—and into every privacy-related thing—you can find. The process can be a little arduous—often requiring the use of your ISP-given email address that you probably never use—and it may not take effect immediately either. All the better reason to do it now.
Time Warner/Spectrum customers can find their privacy dashboard here. Comcast customers can opt out of some targeted programs using these instructions. Verizon customers can find opt out options here. Remember, your phone company is technically an ISP too, so look up your options on that front as well.
Opting out is an important first step, but it is not enough to actually preserve your privacy. Your ISP is not necessarily giving you the opportunity to opt out of all its ad-targeting programs. As the policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute, Eric Null, told Gizmodo, it is “highly unlikely” the new FCC will go after ISPs that aren’t offering robust opportunities to opt-out.
Keep your data out of your ISP’s hands in the first place
Your ISP is uniquely suited to snoop on your information. Anything you put online has to pass through its hands. Email you send through Gmail, chats through Facebook Messenger—they all travel through your ISP before they reach the service that actually sends them on. But while it is impossible to cut your ISP out of this exchange entirely, you can hide the data as you are sending it.
Apps with end-to-end encryption can encrypt your private information on the phone or computer you’re using, ensuring that it is coded and protected through the entire delivery process. So while your ISP can see the data go by, they can’t make sense of it.
The most seamless solution is to pay for a Virtual Private Network—a VPN—which allows you to encrypt all the data that passes through your ISP. This means that while your ISP is still doing the work of hauling your data around, it can’t understand any of it. The downside to this is that VPNs (at least any VPNs you can trust) are not free. Most good ones will require a yearly subscription. Furthermore, you aren’t hiding your personal data from everyone, you are just entrusting it to the VPN instead of your ISP, so do your research and choose a VPN you trust not to sell you out. Fortunately, since VPNs exist exclusively to keep your data private, they are pretty incentivized to keep you happy.
The only one you can really trust to protect you is you.”
….Continue reading more @ ZeroHedge
Cisco Learned of Security Vulnerabilities Because of WikiLeaks CIA Dump
“When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems swung into action.
The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco’s widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping.
Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Cisco engineers worked around the clock for days to analyze the means of attack, create fixes, and craft a stopgap warning about a security risk affecting more than 300 different products, said the employees, who had direct knowledge of the effort.”
….Continue reading more @ Breitbart
Congress to US citizens: Want online privacy? Pay up!
Worried consumers may resort to buying VPN services and paying higher fees to ISPs to protect their privacy
“A congressional vote to repeal U.S. restrictions on broadband providers doesn’t mean that online privacy is dead. Consumers will just have to pay for it.
The coming repeal, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law, paves a clearer path for broadband providers to sell customers’ internet browsing history and other online data, without their consent.
Privacy advocates are worried. Imagine corporate giants snooping on your internet activities, and then bombarding your PC, phone and TV with targeted ads.
However, the privacy rule rollback might have an opposite effect, too. Expect broadband providers and other internet services to emerge offering online privacy protections, but at a price.”
…..Continue reading more @ Computerworld
The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide
Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations highlighted just how much we have sacrificed to the gods of technology and convenience something we used to take for granted, and once considered a basic human right – our privacy.
It is just not just the NSA. Governments the world over are racing to introduce legislation that allows to them to monitor and store every email, phone call and Instant Message, every web page visited, and every VoIP conversation made by every single one of their citizens.
The press have bandied parallels with George Orwell’s dystopian world ruled by an all-seeing Big Brother about a great deal. They are depressingly accurate.
Encryption provides a highly effective way to protect your internet behavior, communications, and data. The main problem with using encryption is that its use flags you up to organizations such as the NSA for closer scrutiny.
Details of the NSA’s data collection rules are here. What it boils down to is that the NSA examines data from US citizens, then discards it if it’s found to be uninteresting. Encrypted data, on the other hand, is stored indefinitely until the NSA can decrypt it.
The NSA can keep all data relating to non-US citizens indefinitely, but practicality suggests that encrypted data gets special attention.
If a lot more people start to use encryption, then encrypted data will stand out less, and surveillance organizations’ job of invading everyone’s privacy will be much harder. Remember – anonymity is not a crime!”
Continue reading more @ https://bestvpn.com/