Your Information Is Out There, Literally
Large Internet Service Providers have partnered with data brokers to track more of what they do online; an advocacy group has warned. Web users are now at more risk of tracked, and this bears more threat to their online privacy.
The advocacy group, Center for Digital Democracy noted in their report that most of the big Internet Service Providers had already formed partnerships with the data tracking firms in previous years. Some of the ISP’s had gone as far as buying the analytics companies thereby putting at their disposal a vast storehouse of consumer data. The report says, “ISP’s have been on a shopping spree to help build their data-targeting system across devices and platforms. Superfast computers analyze our information to decide in milliseconds whether to target us for marketing or not.”
The report goes on to say, through the digital folders that contain all our information, “we can be bought and sold in an instant – to financial marketers, fast food companies, and health advertisers – all without consumers knowledge.”
Some Internet Service Providers have gone as far as linking your Web browsing history and television habits and mobile app usage thereby linking the data sent on these three platforms. It helps the ISPs to target the user on all three devices.
The advocacy group sent the report to the US Federal Communications Commission. The Commission has a vote planned for next week about taking steps towards tougher privacy rules for ISPs to implement. Many ISPs feel the FCC does not have a right getting involved in policing privacy matters and as such are against the proposals.
A senior vice president with trading group USTelecom, Jon Banks, reiterated the ISPs stance on how they are committed to keeping and protecting customer privacy. He feels ISPs have been subjected to privacy oversight by the Federal Trade Commission; unlike other internet companies are treated.
“Its curious that CDD seems to be asking the FCC to impose stricter obligations only on ISPs but is not pushing for the same consumer protections when it comes to other companies that have long used similar and more detailed data to generate huge advertising businesses. Consumers deserve consistent privacy protections as they use the internet.” Banks goes on to say.
The change in stance from the FCC towards the new privacy rules for ISPs is partly due to the agency’s reclassification of broadband. The agency now classifies broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service in net neutrality rules passed in February 2015. The reclassification meant that the policing of broadband fell from the Trade Commissions hands to the Communications Commission.
Other ISPs and trade groups declined to comment on the matter.
Don’t just sit back and wait though, take your privacy into your own hands and get yourself a VPN that will protect you from the prying eyes of your ISP.