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ISPs to sell your internet history

On a 1-5 scale, how much does it upset you that your ISP will be able to sell your browsing data?  

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AT&T, Verizon and Comcast announce they will not sell customer browsing history:

Reuters Article

By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said Friday they would not sell customers’ individual internet browsing information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules.

The bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc.

The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on social media sites.

"We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so," said Gerard Lewis, Comcast's chief privacy officer.

He added Comcast is revising its privacy policy to make more clear that "we do not sell our customers’ individual web browsing information to third parties."

Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no plans to do so in the future, said spokesman Richard Young.

Verizon privacy officer Karen Zacharia said in a blog post Friday the company has two programs that use customer browsing data. One allows marketers to access "de-identified information to determine which customers fit into groups that advertisers are trying to reach" while the other "provides aggregate insights that might be useful for advertisers and other businesses."

Republicans in Congress Tuesday narrowly passed the repeal of the rules with no Democratic support and over the objections of privacy advocates.

The vote was a win for internet providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast and Verizon. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules.

The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump plans to sign the repeal of the rules, which had not taken effect.

Under the rules, internet providers would have needed to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing. Websites do not need the same affirmative consent.

Some in Congress suggested providers would begin selling personal data to the highest bidder, while others vowed to raise money to buy browsing histories of Republicans.

AT&T says in its privacy statement it "will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." In a blog post Friday, AT&T said it would not change those policies after Trump signs the repeal.

Websites and internet service providers do use and sell aggregated customer data to advertisers. Republicans say the rules unfairly would give websites the ability to harvest more data than internet providers.

Trade group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said in an op-ed Friday for website Axios that individual "browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks - by virtually every site you visit on the internet."

This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the bill, arguing most Americans "believe that their private information should be just that."

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)

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For those who don't know, any webpage (such as this one) that contains a Facebook Sharing link or 'like button' is monitoring you.

Those links contain code that identify you to facebook, and they track you across the web. Loading the page triggers your computer to send facebook your cookies, so they know who you are. Even if you're logged out. So, yes, Facebook knows all your FBG aliases, and more.

In fact, even if you don't have a facebook account at all, they create one for you in memory based on your cookies, and continue to track you without knowing your name. If you eventually create an account, the existing web browsing history is folded into your new account.

 

Every computer is uniquely identifiable when accessing a webpage through its cookies and setup information. Every time you load a webpage, the server you're visiting loads in your browser version information, your operating system, what versions of Flash and/or Shockwave and/or Java you have, what fonts you can display, and so on. It's very rare for two computers share the same stats, as we all eventually deviate in what browser extensions we install, what software updates and patches we use, what fonts we add, etc. Each computer "signature" can be tracked across the web and each user can be pretty reliably identified. If you want, you can see how unique you are here, and click "Show Full Results for fingerprinting" on the results page.

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On 3/31/2017 at 3:16 PM, Walking Boot said:

For those who don't know, any webpage (such as this one) that contains a Facebook Sharing link or 'like button' is monitoring you.

Those links contain code that identify you to facebook, and they track you across the web. Loading the page triggers your computer to send facebook your cookies, so they know who you are. Even if you're logged out. So, yes, Facebook knows all your FBG aliases, and more.

In fact, even if you don't have a facebook account at all, they create one for you in memory based on your cookies, and continue to track you without knowing your name. If you eventually create an account, the existing web browsing history is folded into your new account.

 

Every computer is uniquely identifiable when accessing a webpage through its cookies and setup information. Every time you load a webpage, the server you're visiting loads in your browser version information, your operating system, what versions of Flash and/or Shockwave and/or Java you have, what fonts you can display, and so on. It's very rare for two computers share the same stats, as we all eventually deviate in what browser extensions we install, what software updates and patches we use, what fonts we add, etc. Each computer "signature" can be tracked across the web and each user can be pretty reliably identified. If you want, you can see how unique you are here, and click "Show Full Results for fingerprinting" on the results page.

So a VPN here doesn't help? What do you recommend? 

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9 minutes ago, [icon] said:

So a VPN here doesn't help? What do you recommend? 

An application, or a browser plugin, that runs in the back ground and just randomly loads web pages, continuously. Drop turds in their punch bowl.

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Whichever way Tim votes, I'm opposite. Since he had no problem with the NSA and cia sucking up every single electronic communication in this country I'm guessing he's all for this

Edited by tommyboy
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1 hour ago, Slapdash said:

The #### gibbon in chief signed it, of course

:jawdrop:

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40 minutes ago, Mister CIA said:

An application, or a browser plugin, that runs in the back ground and just randomly loads web pages, continuously. Drop turds in their punch bowl.

This actually doesn't work that well. They can monitor time spent on a page, how many pages inside the domain you view, and how often you return. Patterns are still quite evident. The guy who made that plug in admits it's basically a protest vote, and won't really do much to protect you. It's like signing an online petition in terms of effectiveness. All you're doing is giving a computer a little more data to crunch. 

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42 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

This actually doesn't work that well. They can monitor time spent on a page, how many pages inside the domain you view, and how often you return. Patterns are still quite evident. The guy who made that plug in admits it's basically a protest vote, and won't really do much to protect you. It's like signing an online petition in terms of effectiveness. All you're doing is giving a computer a little more data to crunch. 

That's going to take a lot of man power. 

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4 minutes ago, NutterButter said:

That's going to take a lot of man power. 

It's all automatic. Every domain analysis app has provided this for a decade. When I look up my web page's stats, it tells me exactly how long each unique visitor was on my site, how many pages he clicked through, and if he'd ever been there before. It is all done as soon as the visit starts. 

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1 hour ago, [icon] said:
On 3/31/2017 at 4:16 PM, Walking Boot said:

For those who don't know, any webpage (such as this one) that contains a Facebook Sharing link or 'like button' is monitoring you.

Those links contain code that identify you to facebook, and they track you across the web. Loading the page triggers your computer to send facebook your cookies, so they know who you are. Even if you're logged out. So, yes, Facebook knows all your FBG aliases, and more.

In fact, even if you don't have a facebook account at all, they create one for you in memory based on your cookies, and continue to track you without knowing your name. If you eventually create an account, the existing web browsing history is folded into your new account.

 

Every computer is uniquely identifiable when accessing a webpage through its cookies and setup information. Every time you load a webpage, the server you're visiting loads in your browser version information, your operating system, what versions of Flash and/or Shockwave and/or Java you have, what fonts you can display, and so on. It's very rare for two computers share the same stats, as we all eventually deviate in what browser extensions we install, what software updates and patches we use, what fonts we add, etc. Each computer "signature" can be tracked across the web and each user can be pretty reliably identified. If you want, you can see how unique you are here, and click "Show Full Results for fingerprinting" on the results page.

So a VPN here doesn't help? What do you recommend? 

It's possible to disable cookies.  Of course, a lot of pages require cookies in order to work properly.

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I'm generally in the "I'm not doing anything wrong, so who cares who sees it" school. I get that that's sort of unamerican and a slippery slope, but that's just how I feel.

But I definitely have a problem with ISP's/cable companies (mine basically has a monopoly, so their product is badly overpriced) selling my individual data. If that's true, and we ever to the point where my employer can spend a few bucks and see what websites I check on my personal phone during the day, that's beyond screwed up.

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After the US Congress voted to loosen online privacy regulations, allowing internet providers to sell customers’ browsing data, Minnesota lawmakers have moved to tighten privacy protections within the state.

State Senator Ron Latz (D, St. Louis Park) offered the data privacy measure as an amendment in the state’s economic development budget bill. It would prohibit internet providers in Minnesota from collecting personal information from customers without their permission.

The vote comes after Congress chose to lift a ban on that practice imposed in 2016 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"It won't circumvent the federal government, but it will give Minnesotans a legal recourse to protect their privacy," Latz said in a statement, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Wednesday.

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For what it may be worth, here is a rating of VPNs and how well they protect your info.

That One Privacy Site 

Quote

Welcome to the VPN Section!  This section is meant to be a resource to those who value their privacy, specifically those looking for information on VPNs (that isn’t disguised advertising).  When I started down the path of retaking my own privacy, there was very little unbiased and reliable information with regard to VPNs.

I started researching data about VPN services for my own knowledge, then posted the information online in the hopes the Internet might find my work useful for themselves.  Through the positive feedback and assistance those in the community offered, I’ve been able to take this step into compiling all of my related work in one location and moving away from the Google Spreadsheet that it was originally created on.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

–That One Privacy Guy

 

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Been playing with IPVanish since the weekend. Seems okay so far.  :scared:

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When does all this start?

Anyone have experience with the VPN service offered through Avast?

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Why does anyone trust their VPN provider won't sell the history of their customers?  I imagine some have privacy policies stating they won't, but I'm not sure I'd trust any VPN provider anymore than my ISP.

That said, the only thing I don't like about this whole thing is it's really double dipping for the ISPs.  If they want to sell my history, sure, just give me a discount on my service and pass some of that back my way.  

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This data is worthless.  All I have to say is "I share my phone / computer with several people and I don't track what they do.  You cannot connect any of that browsing history to me."

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28 minutes ago, captain_amazing said:

Why does anyone trust their VPN provider won't sell the history of their customers?  I imagine some have privacy policies stating they won't, but I'm not sure I'd trust any VPN provider anymore than my ISP.

That said, the only thing I don't like about this whole thing is it's really double dipping for the ISPs.  If they want to sell my history, sure, just give me a discount on my service and pass some of that back my way.  

Your choice of VPNs is very large, your choice of ISPs is very small. The market will keep VPNs in check because there are numerous choices. If PIA or something starts selling your data, literally their entire customer base will move to a different VPN. Even if industry standard was to sell your info, there would be some VPN that wouldn't and they would attract more customers. There is no such choice with ISPs. I have two choices where I live, if they both start selling data my choices are basically to have my data sold or not have internet.

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32 minutes ago, Kev4029 said:

Your choice of VPNs is very large, your choice of ISPs is very small. The market will keep VPNs in check because there are numerous choices. If PIA or something starts selling your data, literally their entire customer base will move to a different VPN. Even if industry standard was to sell your info, there would be some VPN that wouldn't and they would attract more customers. There is no such choice with ISPs. I have two choices where I live, if they both start selling data my choices are basically to have my data sold or not have internet.

How would you know if a VPN was selling your data?  Do they have to tell you?  Can they write an obscure privacy policy suggesting they protect your info but are legally allowed to still sell it without you knowing?  How many VPN customers actually read privacy policies and among those how many could determine whether the policy actually prevents the VPN provider from selling your info?  What if VPN services aggregate data geograohically in such a way that each set contains data of 5 customers... since your info is aggregated and not sold individually, is that much different?  

I'm talking from a standpoint of  ignorance, not knowing much about privacy and law and such, but those are the concerns that come to mind.

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The other option would be to set up some sort of automated browsing randomizer that randomly searched websites on its own so that your data is useless.

 

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