Congress Just Gave Internet Providers the Green Light to Sell Your Browsing History Without Consent

The House of Representatives voted today to repeal rules preventing internet service providers from selling their customers’ web browsing and app usage data without explicit consent. The Senate passed the same bill last week, which means the only obstacle that remains is a signature from President Trump—and the White House has already signaled he will do so.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Another reform needs to be the barring of corporations from donating to any political entity, or foundation that donates to political entities.
    Both parties are in a race to sell us all out to the highest bidder.

    • El Martyachi

      … am tellin ya, go with the etch-a-sketch.

    • Yep. And VPN’s are a good idea. And if they keep it up, more and more people will use even more sophisticated tools that put you on the “dark net”. Not just criminals, but law-abiding citizens who value privacy and security.

      I’m setting up my system to be ready for when “big brother” makes his move. I don’t need it yet, but the day is probably coming soon and I’m ready for ’em…

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Actually, start using it now. Maybe you will escape notice in the first place.

        • Testing it. But the problem is the company that distributes it is already heavily surveilled for obvious reasons — no such thing as “escaping notice”. E.g. when I downloaded the program something happened that never happened before — computer shut down completely, and even my router shut off. The router was especially surprising — impossible to shut off unless I physically do it myself.

          Definitely gave me pause…no viruses or anything as far as I can see…a “shot across the bow”?

          • El Martyachi

            Is it IPsec? That’ll sometimes send consumer stuff into conniptions.

          • Don’t know which protocols this particular one uses — I’m experimenting with several and they’re all different, and perform differently. IPsec needs a password doesn’t it?

            VPNs have caveats: according to techs the free proxies are often selling your data as well, but at least you get a temporary secure connection from point A to point B. Other free VPN’s are actually fronts run by Government agencies for their own data collection purposes, according to tech tests. And others muscle in on your band-width for resale or redistribution throughout the network.

            But it’s absolutely critical to use VPN or a proxy if you are travelling, or you might arrive home to find your bank account cleaned out. You have to be crazy to use public Internet in airports and cafes without a good vpn proxy, especially in a foreign country.

            Whatever the case, I don’t think you can completely get by the IP provider can you?

          • El Martyachi

            I had a glance at the homepage of that provider you and DBN mentioned earlier and the protocol appears configurable. Ya might try going the openvpn route (nobody cares if puns are (un)intended..) as that occurs over standard IP and is less likely to choke out your home router/modem.

            The SDF (Super Dimensional Fortress) at sdf.org has a vpn level membership and Stephen Jones, the proprietor, won’t sell your data. It’s definitely not pointy clicky mainstream but .. well.. diff’t strokes for diff’t folks 😉

          • Thanks. Yeah, I’m not familiar with the provider dbn mentioned. There are many out there. I remember when spothot sheild was popular — popularized apparently during the “Arab Spring” uprising to circumvent censorship. But it apparently went to their heads and they went commercial — the “free” service morphed into incessant nagging advertisements to buy the paid version. It got so bad some people consider it malware. Definitely not a “human rights” tool anymore.

          • El Martyachi

            It’s mainly about the data centres (ie. wherever you “land”). At some pint your encrypted session terminates and is visible.

            Some months ago I remember reading a survey of VPN providers by one of the authors of a common stack and they were atrocious.. things like silly PSKs, unpatched versions, config mistakes, etc.

            I suspect SDF might be a good fit in your case, generally, and not just for security stuff. The bottom line is that there are things you can do to get lost in the noise, but if you’re targeted, most if not all bets are off.

            And, paradoxically, using a VPN raises your profile and increases chances of targeting anyway. Unless they become very common, of course.. which seems unlikely.

          • Made a note of SDF per your recommendation and I’ll take a closer look. First time I’ve heard of UNIX in years — the original networking standard from what I remember. And a blast from the past — I remember learning a few commands about 25 years ago! Not that different from the old DOS commands in simplicity, but very powerful (which is why I’m not especially attracted to Linux — I’ve used Linux but the commands are totally unintuitive if you come from a DOS background like myself — UNIX makes more sense).

            A bit OT, but back in the day I remember a determined UNIX programmer at Lawrence Livermore Labs was the one who busted a KGB cyber-spy during the Cold War. His name is Clifford Stoll, you might remember him. It took him years, but it was a tiny discrepancy in an expense report — about 4 cents — that finally landed the prize. His funders naturally thought he was nuts for following a penny cyber-expense all over the networking world, but he was determined to find out where it came from. And bingo — he landed a Soviet spy specializing in hacking U.S. military, etc.

          • El Martyachi

            It’s all still there 😉

    • Quite a lot is owned by Google but actually I have never liked
      it and I do not have an account there.

    • Sunshine

      I use Duckduckgo. There is less information available but it doesn’t track your searches. Google is a last emergency resort for mundane (ex cooking recipes) or work-related searches.

      • Bupple

        I just read that duckduckgo was caught using a tracking cookie in the past! The person referred to this source: https://archive.is/qntuk. Seems legit, Alexander Hanff is a highly respected privacy activist. Does anyone know more about this? I’m going to switch to startpage.com just to be sure..

        • Sunshine

          Apparently Tor and a VPN will do the trick. I’ll check out Tor.

  • The Butterfly

    Is transbutterfly porn illegal? Asking for a friend.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      is the Butterfly under the age of 18-hours?