Regardless of the privacy precautions, you attempt to put in place; there’s someone somewhere who can view everything that you carry out online: that’s your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Your entire downloads and uploads go through your ISP’s infrastructure, making them a perfectly positioned middleman who are aware of your browsing habits and much more.
The moment an ISP has your data, a whole lot of things take place. For instance, it can be sold to the highest bidder available, handed over to government authorities when needed, or read and analyzed for reasons you don’t know.
Sadly, not all is lost. When it comes to matters concerning online privacy, there are plenty of steps that you can take if you intend to wipe out your browsing history to prevent some sites from tracking all your moves.
Even though some of them are highly efficient than others, if you are particular about your online privacy, any one of these options is better than just sitting down and doing nothing. So, is your ISP tracking you? A simple answer to this burning question is, yes!
What Can Your ISP See?
Acting as a middleman on the journey of your data to or from the internet, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) can monitor and catalog almost everything that you do while online. Your entire online activities can be seen with a lot of ease from the eyes of your ISP.
The moment you log in to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or just connect to the internet, you do so using an IP address that is assigned by your ISP. So if you look at it, you’re technically using their network and equipment to gain access to the internet.
Therefore, that puts your Internet Service Provider (ISP) in a primary position to see the following:
- The websites and services that you visit
- The source of information that’s encrypted
- The contents of unencrypted downloads and websites
- The dates and times of almost everything
- Your actual location and the time you spend on the internet
Besides seeing all the information mentioned above, your ISP can tie everything to the address and name of an account holder (this may or not be you).
Why is Your ISP Tracking You?
On most occasions, there’s probably no one spending their time behind a desk and monitoring every move you make. However, that certainly does not mean that their systems do not store your browsing history or, worse, share or sell it to third-parties.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) keeps track of all your clicks for many reasons. These providers are in business, and their goal is to maximize their revenues. Therefore, to them, your browsing history is a considerable revenue stream. A majority of ISPs gather anonymous browsing logs before selling them to marketing firms.
Lately, some internet providers are moving to make matters concerning privacy somewhat a premium add-on. This means that they can use your browsing history and market you in the same manner websites do. Furthermore, data collected by your ISP can easily be accessed by third-party firms such as government agencies or the police.
How Your ISP Profits from Tracking You
Are you aware that ISPs are selling your data? Surprisingly, a lot of them say that they don’t. That’s a big lie since data is a highly lucrative business. An apt example of this is Google. Google knows almost everything that you like, thereby pushing the type of adverts you like your way. This is because Google captures records of what you like and prefer.
Your Internet Service Provider works in almost the same way as Google does. By storing your data, they then go ahead to forge partnerships with marketers and advertisers who push their adverts to a particular demographic region.
Even though these advertisers and marketers refute that the adverts they send to people aren’t linked to IP addresses, the truth is that this is actually the case. To add salt to an injury, President Trump repealed the proposed online privacy laws, a move that gave ISPs more freedom in using the data they gather and profit from it by selling to marketers and advertisers.
How to Stop Your ISP from Tracking You
Now that your ISP can track you, is there anything that you can do to minimize or completely prevent your ISPs from tracking you? There are several effective ways of doing so, as highlighted below:
- Employ the use of Tor for anonymous browsing: As a vast network made of virtual tunnels, Tor allows an internet user to browse while leaving no traces. Tor comes with a highly protected relay system that makes it highly secure.
- Use HTTPS: Before proceeding, you need to understand that not all that you do on the internet is encrypted. However, using HTTPS as opposed to HTTP will assure you that your data is encrypted, thereby making it highly secure.
- Use a VPN: A VPN network offers state-of-the-art encryption coupled with robust protocols that secure your digital presence from prying eyes. Get a VPN and securely browse the web without worrying about ISP or any other entity from snooping on you.
- Adjust your DNS: Make sure to check what DNS your laptop/computer is using before setting it a third party provider such as OpenDNS.
As we’ve seen, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sees and tracks everything that you do online. These ISPs are in business to maximize their revenues without caring much about a user’s privacy.
To an ISP, profits matter at the expense of people’s privacy. Anonymity and confidentiality are non-existent. But again, there’s something that you can do to protect your privacy while on the internet. There is a host of effective and efficient ways of blocking your ISP tracking your internet activities.
While it may be difficult to stay completely invisible when browsing on the web, there are steps that you can employ to make it a laborious exercise for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to track and monitor all the moves that you make while conducting your business online. With such tools, you will be back in control, just as such should be.