Government

Online Privacy Rollback Bill Leaves Users Finding Alternative Routes

A recent bill signed by President Donald Trump allows for the sale of browsing history, a rollback of certain online privacies. (c) 2017 Charlie DiSturco

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Rollback on Online Privacies leaves citizens finding Alternative Routes

A Syracuse University professor describes the best ways to use private networks and other alternative routes to stop internet service providers from selling browsing information

By Charlie DiSturco SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Be careful what you look up on the internet, because all that information has a price tag. President Donald Trump signed a bill last night giving internet service providers the ability to auction one’s browsing history to the highest bidder.

The bill passed through the House of Representatives and Senate last week. It repeals the act that originally had internet service providers like Verizon and AT&T to obtain permission from customers before sharing data. It’s a rollback of the bill that was enacted during the Obama administration under the Federal Communications Commission.

Now, internet providers can track and sell browsing history without notification. It leaves citizens vulnerable and information unprotected. However, there are ways around the new bill.

Companies like Verizon no longer need to get customer’s permission to obtain personal information. (c) 2017 Charlie DiSturco

“Certainly using a virtual private network or encrypted communications tool,” Lee McKnight, a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, said. “There’s a variety of them.”

McKnight is referring to a virtual private network, often called VPN. The network is an encryption method that allows users to conduct data communications, making it hard to track.

An easier, less safe way around the bill would be through the private browsing tab while perusing the internet.

“You could just be using those all routinely,” McKnight said. “Those provide some, but not complete protection. Not as much as a virtual private network.”

To stop internet service providers from selling information, it seems like acting fast and downloading a virtual private network is the smart choice.