SJ 34 passed both the Senate and Congress, your internet service provider is tracking you read this post AND now has the right to sell your history to the highest bidder.
The passing of the bill was split down party lines with just 15 Republican Congressional representatives following the will of their constituents by voting nay. The White House said that the bill has the president's support and it will soon become law.
Now our ISP, Comcast, AT & T, Time Warner, etc. can sell all of our information to third parties without informing us. Things like what sites we visit, how often, our names, social security number and our physical address.
It is official, Big Brother is watching us and we pay him to spy on us. The cable companies charge us for internet access, then can make money on the back end selling us out to Corporate America. Congress has just handed Big Cable companies 35-70 billion dollars a year. A healthy return on the cable companies' campaign investments.
Google and Facebook have been doing this all along. That is why, providing a free service, they are two to the largest companies in the world. The difference is that you have to be actively logged into Google or Facebook to be tracked. Your ISP, well your ISP is omniscient, you do not have to be logged onto a service for it to track your every move. Going "incognito" mode in Google is now meaningless.
Can our ISP read our emails? Can it store and search through words that I type onto a webpage?
It is a lot of hassle for the ISP to take this enormous quantity of information and turn it into dollars, but the economics may change with this vote.
Aside from complaining to our Senators and Congressional representatives, (Which yes, you should do, and remind them that there are elections in 2018 and 2020.) what can you do?
1. Use Tor or a VPN
Tor is basically a series of safe houses that you travel through en route to your final destination website. You can download TOR here. You are not invisible, the admin of the TOR portal you are passing through can watch your activity, but the more nodes you pass thorough, the harder it is to identify you by websites outside of the TOR network.
A VPN is a virtual private network. There are free services, but they are not as trustworthy. Some websites, like Netflix, do not work with VPN use. You can set up your own or use a pay service. Learn more about setting up a VPN here.
2. Use A Google alternative
I personally have yet to find a search engine that has as powerful an algorithm as Google. DuckDuckGO will not track you or store your information.
3. Don't park
There is no reason to be logged into Facebook and your Gmail all the time. You might find that you are getting more done throughout the day without the constant alerts that someone "liked" your post.
Another alternative is to use a separate browser for your searches and social media. Use Chrome for your social media for example, but have a separate window open to do all of your searches in Firefox. It limits the scope of what they can follow you doing.
4. HTTPS Everywhere
No, not HTTPS Everywhere, but the browser plugin HTTPS Everywhere. Your ISP will be able to see where you have visited and how long you spent on that page, BUT it cannot see beyond there. It does not eliminate all information, but it cuts down the range of what can be seen.
5. Give your ISP a call
We hate calling them, but we must.
Ask them what information they have on you. Ask what they are allowed to sell to third parties. Ask them what you are allowed to opt our of under your contract. Tell them you are not happy. You will be researching other options in your area.
The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them: