In 2013, people around the world were stunned when Edward Snowden released files he had taken while working for the National Security Agency in the United States. The Snowden leaks showed that the government was recording phone calls, test massages, search engine queries, and emails from citizens. In total, the NSA had collected petabytes of data each day. Even if you had never been accused of a crime, there is a good chance that your data was collected and analyzed. The abuse of power is frightening and something consumers have to worry about more than ever.
Failing to protect your privacy online could lead to devastating problems in the future. Within this guide, readers will learn more about the reasons online privacy is so important.
Comcast Is Selling Your Data
Comcast is one of the biggest Internet service providers in the world. While government spying is bad, the government isn’t the only one benefiting from your private information. Several public companies have also been caught collecting and selling data from their customers and users. Internet service providers, such as Comcast, have the incentive to sell their users’ data to anyone who can pay for it. Despite the outrage caused by the NSA leaks, the Congress and Senate teamed up to sign a bill giving American Internet service providers the right to legally sell their users’ Internet history.
This means that your ISP can legally collect your Internet history and sell it to another company. Since the bill was signed earlier in Trump’s term, ISPs have worked quickly to collect and sell as much data as possible. Whether you’re playing ceme online, browsing adult sites, or chatting with friends, someone knows about it. And, everything you’ve done has likely been sold for profit. By protecting your data, you can prevent Comcast and other ISPs from using your browsing activities to make money.
In 2015, the Obama administration took steps to put limits on Internet service providers and how they could deliver web content to customers. At the time, this was a major victory for net neutrality and its supports. They wanted to make sure that the Internet was classified as a public utility instead of a privatized commodity and they were one step closer. However, things have changed since Donald Trump took office. ISPs have worked swiftly to reverse these rules. Under Trump’s rule and thanks to Republican control, ISPs had their chance to fight back.
Unfortunately, the FCC chief ended net neutrality. With Trump and Pai leaving off soon, digital rights groups will restart the battle for net neutrality. Advocates will hope that the Biden administration can finally implement net neutrality rules to protect Americans. Until that happens, it is up to consumers to protect their data when browsing the Internet.
At the end of the day, you have to understand that you’re using the Internet everywhere. If you carry a smartphone, there is a good chance that it stays connected to the Internet at all times. When you pass a Wi-Fi hot spot, your phone may connect to that hot spot without you realizing it. This means that your data could be captured in the blink of an eye. You’re using the Internet from everywhere so you need to take steps to protect yourself online. Using public hotspots can be very risky.
Hotspots at libraries, coffee stores, restaurants, and other locations can be dangerous. If you intend to use one of these, you need to protect your private information first.
NSA Hasn’t Stopped
The Snowden leaks were frightening. However, Americans need to understand that the NSA hasn’t stopped. There was never any sign that the NSA’s power to collect so much data has been removed. It hadn’t. Instead, the agency has likely continued looking for ways to collect more data. Assange and Wikileaks have continued releasing leaks about the NSA and its data collection efforts. Today, it goes well beyond your computer. The NSA is collecting information from your smartphone, smart television, and other connected devices.
With that being said, consumers need to be aggressive when it comes to protecting their private information. They need to put measures in place to ensure that their data is protected to the fullest. Otherwise, it could fall into the wrong hands.