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Internet monitoring

Browsing the Internet in the privacy of your own home is anything but private. We know that our Google searches and Facebook likes and clicks boomerang right back to us in the form of pop up ads. But did you realize that your Internet provider sees everything too? We've talked about using privacy browsers before (DuckDuckGo), but it's moot if your carrier is aware and starts selling your web browsing history and more.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives and Senate voted to overturn FCC rules that require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to notify customers before their information is used for advertising or marketing, meaning that if signed by the President, your Internet provider will be allowed to sell your web browsing history, app usage and location information to marketers.

Think you can just clear your history and pretend like you never visited a certain site? The answer is no. That only clears your personal computer. If you've been researching medical conditions, looking to make financial changes to your portfolio or shopping for a new pair of shoes, someone is watching. If this rollback is signed, your ISP will have the ability to do more than watch. They'll gather your data and web browsing history and sell it to marketers. Click here to watch the video below from the Washington Post website and read more.

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How Can You Protect Your Privacy?

Educate yourself on using a virtual private network - or VPN - service for browsing. VPNs are widely used in business to provide a secured, encrypted network but they are on the rise for the consumer segment for privacy protection. A VPN acts as a connector between your device and a private network so your identity and data can be protected. The advantages of using a VPN service are:

  • Protects your web traffic when using Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Hides your actual IP address so you can't be tracked online
  • Conceals your location (in case you are traveling in a country where internet surveillance is a problem)

There are a number of providers that offer free downloads or services that start at a few dollars a month. You should research options thoroughly and feel comfortable trusting the VPN service you choose. Be aware that the use of one of these programs might bypass restrictions on your firewall that don't allow access to certain sites. Also, note that using a middleman to connect you to the Internet could result in somewhat slower browsing service.

The Best VPN Services of 2017 from PCmag.com.
The Best Free VPN 2017 from TechRadar.com.

While a good April Fool's Day prank might be fun, this law is no joke! Consider a VPN browsing service for your own protection and peace of mind. Call me at 203-938-8400 if you have questions or would like to learn more!