• Patti Raspolich

What to Know About the ISP Privacy Bill

Photo courtesy of cdn.arstechnica.net

While many people may be worried or confused about the latest regulations dealing with Internet Service Providers (ISP) and our digital privacy, there are some important things to know to understand the facts.

To begin with, this past week (March 28), members of Congress introduced legislation that would abolish the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) regulation, titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services.” The ruling was put into place last year to limit the way ISPs use consumer data. The FCC hoped to protect consumers by prohibiting ISPs from selling personal data including browsing histories, app usage, location information and more. Under the FCC’s rule, consumers must give consent of their data sharing.

As the digital advertising world grows, the demand for market research rises. According to research from eMarketer, $72.09 billion was spent on digital advertisements in the United States in 2016. This number will continue to grow as digital ads are expected to surpass television ads, thus increasing the need for more personalized data.

While many people feel their privacy will be violated if this legislation is passed, it is unclear what will happen if President Trump signs the bill. Brian Dietz, a spokesman from NCTA (The Internet and Television Association), feels confident not much will change, stating, “ISPs haven’t done this to date and don’t plan to because they respect the privacy of their customers … and safeguarding their information because we value their trust.”

Overall, the data that is collected through ISPs is nothing new. What comes under question at this point is what ISPs are allowed to do with the personal data that once was protected. For those who are worried about their security, there are ways to protect your Internet privacy such as a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs add security and privacy to networks and are used to protect sensitive data.

Although the bill has not yet been signed by President Trump, it is important for consumers to be aware of the possibility of personal data being shared through marketing and advertising agencies.

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