On March 19th, 2017, the Republican-controlled Congress voted to pass a bill requiring no more than President Trump’s signature to make it law that would give internet service providers (ISPs) the right to snoop on their customers. This new law would allow ISPs to do this without the consent of their customers and then sell any collected data to marketing companies.
An Added Advantage
Those Republicans who backed this bill stated it would help to level the playing field for broadband companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon and give them an advantage in their battle against content providers like Facebook and Google.
Those Democrats who stood in opposition to the bill stated that this bill would give ISPs the right to monitor every aspect of their customers’ daily online lives. It would also give them the right to profit from selling their customer’s private data to marketers and advertisers. It could also make it much easier for hackers to benefit from this suddenly available mass of data.
Peter Eckersley, chief computer scientist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, states, ” Information about your activities may wind up being used to make adverse decisions about you. Something your kids search for online could be the basis for why you are denied a loan.” But, it’s not just individuals such as law enforcement officers who can be affected by this new law, many businesses could soon find their information in the wrong hands.
Think of it like this, if your ISP can sell your information, how long will it be before those with ill-intent find a way to access it and use what they find to cause significant problems. While Republicans laud this new law as a way to give ISPs the same advantages as content providers, Democrats call it an assault on the public’s right to privacy with the sole intent of helping ISPs to enjoy higher profit levels.
Minnesota Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison says, “It’s outrageous, I can’t believe that a person who is a constitutional conservative would vote for a monstrosity like this.” California Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo said, “The message to the American people is clear: Your Privacy doesn’t matter.”
Changes in How We Use the Internet
One thing is sure, this new law is going to have a major impact on how people use their internet service. Many are likely to seek out encryption services or software as a way to get around the constant monitoring by their ISPs. The only bad part of doing this is that if your ISP is determined to collect your browsing history, these services may not be enough to protect your privacy from their prying eyes.
It seems that right now there is simply no way you are going to be able to protect your browsing history from your ISP service. The best thing you can do is be sure that you do everything to keep any private information secure using currently available encryption services and to be prepared to take legal action if your personal data is mishandled, at least until this law is changed or repealed.