Your BBB would like to bring something to your attention. If you think your browser search history is protected by law, you will probably be surprised to find out that this is no longer the case. In March the Congress voted to dissolve a law that prohibited internet service providers from selling your data without your knowledge. Here’s what that means:
1. Your information might be up for grabs
Simply put, your internet provider can now sell your search history to the highest bidder. Let’s say you looked up beauty products in the past and now your internet provider has this piece of information. You will soon see an increase in the number of makeup ads when going online.
2. This is about more than just targeted ads
Your information can also go to financial companies, insurance agencies, real estate firms, car dealerships etc.
3. This is not just about you
The data gathered is not just about you, it’s about your entire family. Your internet search history can offer information about the number of kids you have, their ages and preferences (let’s say you looked up diapers- they know you have a baby), your financial status (based on your price selection) and even your personal and financial aspirations (job search, online wish lists etc.).
This is how you can prevent all of this from happening:
1. Use encrypted messengers, if possible
WhatsApp and Signal are two of them. What they do is leave an important percentage of your data out, as your messages pass through ISP. And you can also use these messengers on your desktop, not just your phone.
2. Look for HTTPS
When you visit a website that features an URL beginning with HTTPS, the ISP can detect the website’s name, but not the page, which limits the amount of data that’s being collected.
3. Try a VPN connection
VPN connections create an encrypted channel between your device and the service, which means your ISP won’t have access to any of that search history data.
Keep this in mind next time you look something up and make sure to tell your friends and family so they too can protect their search history information.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville!