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Senate Resolution May Eventually Allow ISPs to Sell Sensitive Customer Data

Posted by Writing PIs on March 23, 2017

Browsing History and Your Privacy

March 23, 2017: Today the Senate passed a resolution that would overturn an FCC rule that requires internet service providers (ISPs) to get customers’ permission before ISPs sell sensitive consumer data, such as browsing histories. You can read more in the LA Times article Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers.

Mystery writers often joke that if the government ever looked at their browsing histories for stories, the writer would look like he/she wanted to murder someone through his/her searches on poisoning, bombing, knifing, strangling, and on and on…

But it’s not so funny that a Minnesota judge recently approved a warrant to retrieve people’s Google searches on variations of a victim’s name over a 5-week timeframe. Google was to provide the court each searcher’s name, email address, account information, and IP address. Think about that. What if you had Googled a name of a second cousin, a potential employer, even the name of a character in a book, and what you typed just happened to be similar to that victim’s name? Your name and personal information would be provided to the court as a possible suspect.

But, there’s no need to panic. Instead…

Be Proactive with Your Internet Privacy

The Senate’s resolution hasn’t gone to legislation yet, of course. So this is an opportunity to think about ways to protect your internet privacy and browsing history. For example, are you using a private search engine? Good. If not, consider using a private search engine like DuckDuckGo or StartPage.

Articles on Internet Privacy

Some private search engines, such as StartPage, also encourage users to take additional steps to limit cookies as a second line of defense. I wrote about how to set up Do Not Track options, add-ons, extensions, and more in my article Tips for Keeping the Cookie Monster Out of Your Browser.

Below are more articles that offer tips for protecting your internet privacy:

How to Browse the Internet Anonymously by Natasha Stokes (Techlicious)

One setting to protect your privacy on your iPhone or iPad by Mark Jones (Komando.com)

Computer security tips for whistleblowers and sources (The Guardian)

Have a good week, Writing PIs

 All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. All images are licensed by the author, who does not have legal authority to share with others so please do not copy or distribute those images, thank you.

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