How to Hide Browser History from ISP

The leash has been taken off the ISPs, empowering them to use our personal data as they please and make big dollars out of it.

The Obama-era FCC rules have been rolled back and replaced with the new, anti-privacy bill. According to the new bill, ISPs are now authorized to record every activity we do online or on the apps we use, and sell that data to the “highest bidder”.

What’s worse is that there is no way to know who they would sell the information to.

How to Hide Browsing History from ISP

What This Data Collection Means to the Users…

For starters, ISPs can track every web page we visit and all our activity on those websites.

Moving on, they would sell the personal information to marketing firms or any other third-party organizations.

The marketing firms would dismantle our data, run various analysis on it and use the findings to gain insights into our daily lives.

For instance, if we search for bouquet images, ISPs would see that query as our interest and serve us ads that match that interest like ads related to bouquet stores, bouquet for weddings, etc.

Regardless, getting spammed by targeted ads is just one part of the concern.

The other part is that we can’t be exactly sure that the ISP won’t use our personal information for any ulterior reasons other than selling it to marketing firms.

So, what does that mean for us?

We can’t keep browser history private anymore, and hence we can’t keep our online privacy un-breachable.

Or, can we?

What is ISP Tracking?

ISP tracking refers to the practice of an ISP collecting and recording data about your online activities and connections. Know what that means? Everything from your browser preferences to your search history are easily watched and documented by your Internet provider.

Why is Your ISP Tracking You?

There are a number of reasons why ISPs do so, including:

  • To sell your personal data

    Your ISP can profit from the data they collect by selling it to advertisers offering the highest bid. When these companies combine this information with data they already have on your browsing and buying habits, they’re able to find more clever but intrusive ways to target you.

    Though this practice may sound extremely unlawful, the truth is that it’s perfectly acceptable in some countries. Even in countries where this may not be allowed, there’s nothing guaranteeing ISPs don’t cut deals with advertising companies behind the scenes.

  • To adhere to data retention laws

    In many countries around the world, ISPs are legally required to store customer Internet data for a specified period of time. This is then made available to law enforcement agencies if and when it’s required for an investigation.

    That plays an important role in the fight against terrorism and crimes, but it also prevents whistleblowers and journalists from maintaining their anonymity. Additionally, there’s a good chance that many ordinary citizens are being surveilled for no obvious reason.

  • To monitor for P2P usage

    File sharing is illegal in many parts of the world, and in regions with stringent copyright laws, ISPs have to monitor user connections in order to ensure they aren’t engaging in torrenting activities. If you’re caught downloading torrents, you will be sent a copyright infringement notice and consequently you may have to pay huge fines or even be taken to court!

  • To throttle bandwidth

    Some ISPs rely on their users’ connection data so they can throttle bandwidth – which is defined as the intentional slowing down of your Internet speed. They will claim this is done to reduce network congestion, but most ISPs use bandwidth throttling to convince users into upgrading to a costlier subscription or paying for a new, more expensive data plan.

Why Should You Care?

Well, the answer couldn’t be simpler – because your privacy is at stake! Everything you do on the Internet (the websites you visit, services you use, files you download, etc.) is constantly being watched by someone, which besides being a serious privacy invasion also feels rather weird.

You’ll also be targeted with ads personalized according to your tastes and interests. Some people don’t mind being advertised to, but let’s face it – the different ways through which advertisers track your behavior across websites is just wrong!

That’s not all, though. If you rely on torrenting to gain access to the files you need, you might get into legal hot water, and if you spend long hours streaming, downloading, or gaming, you could very well be subject to bandwidth throttling.

What Data Can Your ISP See?

Since ISPs assign your device an IP address and know what IP addresses you’re connecting to, they can see virtually everything you do on the Internet. However, doing so becomes even easier for your ISP if the websites you’re accessing are using HTTP and not HTTPS – which encrypts the data sent between you and the site.

Your ISP can see the following things:

  • Your mobile phone’s geo-location
  • Your search history
  • Your cryptocurrency transaction
  • Your browsing history
  • Your unencrypted communications
  • Your passwords (when typed into unencrypted websites)
  • Your downloads

How to Stop Your ISP from Tracking You?

Now that you know your ISPs is watching, you might be wondering how to limit, if not eradicate, their ability to track you. Realistically speaking, we can’t fight with ISPs or beg them to not use our personal information for their gains. However, what we can do is to hide our browser history from ISPs and make our online activities completely anonymous.

Luckily, there are some ways we can go about this.

  • Use Tor

    If you want to hide browsing history from ISPs, you can start with Tor. Although Tor is not 100% failsafe, it is still a good option.

    Tor is a browser client that allows you to keep your web search history anonymous from the prying eyes of greedy ISPs. It offers an encrypted browsing experience, allowing you to hide your browsing activity from getting tracked or monitored by any third party.

    However, Tor falls short when it comes to encrypting anything other than the browser. For instance, Tor cannot block ISPs from tracking the personal information extracted from the apps we download and use.

    Likewise, Tor cannot protect the IoT (Internet of Things) devices in our homes.

    Moreover, some ISPs may not even allow Tor clients. They can even ban the Internet connection if the traffic is found to be routed from Tor.

  • Use HTTPS Browser Extension

    Another viable option you can use to hide browser history from ISPs is HTTPS browser extension. It is a great tool to prevent your browser from leaking any activity you do on a website.

    The HTTPS extension’s job is to encrypt every website you visit. Your ISP would, of course, know about the websites you visit, but they would never know the activity you are doing there.

    Say for instance you visit a streaming website. The ISP can track that the user has visited the streaming website, but it can’t track what videos have been watched, or search queries have been used.

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Using a VPN is like putting your internet encryption on steroids.

    A virtual private network allows you to not just hide browser history from ISPs but also hide all your online activities from hackers, data-thefts, snoopers, etc.

    VPN protects not just your browser, but your computer itself, the smartphones you use, your laptop, and in fact the IoT devices you have in your home.

    When you subscribe to a VPN service, it encrypts the network connection that links every device in your home to the Internet.

    VPNs allow you to use anonymous IPs (Internet Protocol) to browse websites. By using an IP originating from a different country, you trick your ISP into thinking that the website is accessed from a different source or region, and not your house.

    Apart from that, VPN encrypts your network connection with 256-bit AES encryption. The military-grade encryption allows you to use your Internet with a complete peace of mind.

    With the highest level of encryption provided by a VPN, you can do online shopping or make online transactions without any worries at all.

PureVPN – A Reliable VPN for Protecting Your Privacy!

We use AES 256-bit encryption to protect your personal data from third-parties like ISPs, advertisers, and cybercriminals. To top that off, your real IP address is also replaced with one of our 300,000+ unique IPs, making it impossible for your online activities to be linked back to you.

PureVPN respects your right to privacy and follows a strict no-logs policy to keep you as anonymous as possible. There are apps available for all major platforms and a generous 31-day money-back guarantee ensures that your investment stays protected.

With us by your side, you also get unrestricted access to a suite of premium features like DNS Leak Protection, Internet Kill Switch, WebRTC Leak Protection, etc. all of which take your online privacy to a whole new level.

Reclaim the Privacy

Final Word

The new broadband privacy bill is just the beginning of the anti-privacy era. To better survive in this era, we have to be proactive in protecting our privacy. Fortunately, we have above tools like a VPN to keep our home networks secure and the privacy of our family hidden from unwanted eyes.