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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 analyses 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 our ads that match that interest, like ads related to bouquet stores, a 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?
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.
There are a number of reasons why ISPs do so, including:
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.
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.
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!
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.
Learn more about whether your internet is being throttled or not, so you can enjoy internet surfing with uninterrupted speed.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Learn more about Tor and how it is different from a VPN from here.
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.
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.
While a majority of ISPs have the same business model where they charge you a monthly bill and sell your internet data to marketing agencies, there are some that value user privacy. You could opt for a more privacy-centric ISP in your area, but before you do that, you must understand your internet needs and why you want to switch services.
The second step should be to say goodbye to your internet monitoring ISP. Start looking for reliable ISPs in your area. Narrow down your search to the ones that value user privacy the most and pick an ISP that matches your needs.
While you might believe your new ISP to be reliable, it’s best to not let your guard down. Use a VPN to secure your online connection end-to-end.
ISPs maintain your internet history for at least 90 days. This is done to comply with the local laws and give your privacy information to law enforcement upon the request of a government entity.
Since your internet traffic gets routed through your ISPs servers, they have complete knowledge of your internet activities, be it browsing, streaming or downloading. To hide your online activities, you should hide your IP address by using a VPN to connect to a different location/server. This way, you can also get around bandwidth throttling which is a common practice by ISPs around the world.
Yes, when you connect to an unsecured and untrusted WiFi network, the owner of that particular network may possibly be using spying tools to view your internet activities on their network.
Learn more about Public Wifi Security and why it is important for your online privacy.
Similar to an ISP, phone companies that offer data packages are an ISP. They work under the same practices as any other ISP.
ISPs keep a track of things like the websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you watch, the device you're using, and your geographic location. This data is then shared with marketing agencies who target you with relevant ads.
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.
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.
Want to reclaim your online privacy? You might want to check below how to delete your account guides of social media platforms: