Last Updated 11 July 2019
Before I dig into the question completely, here are a quick answer. Yes, ISP now sells your information and data to advertisers for targeted marketing purposes. which is unfair and absolutely no acceptable, but you can prevent it by changing your ISP by VPN service. but choose only best and trusted VPN provider to deal with it.
It is one of the most frequently asked questions by the internet users that do ISP sell user’s information? To your shock, the answer is YES. Internet service providers do sell users information.
Irrespective of the region where you live in, it is right that ISPs have an approach to the vast amount of personal information, and are entirely free to sell this information to advertisement industries. It won’t be wrong if we say that there is little difference between ISPs and Google or Facebook, as both are known to sell user information to advertising industries.
Internet service providers do so because they are compelled to do so. The ISPs not just only have access to all the information which generates on the internet, but they are also forced to tail the data on the DNS to ensure that the network is working correctly.
Moreover, they monitor information to assure that the security of the network is going in the correct path and to provide protection against any online attacks.
The critical thing to note is that how do they store and sell the information? Aren’t there any rules previously or existing to prevent ISP from selling user’s information?
Well! This article is all related to how ISP do this and how you can avoid this thing. Let’s find out more about it.
USA Repeals Net Neutrality:
Since the repulsion of net neutrality laws in the USA, the ISPs are now entirely free to gather and sell user’s information to third parties. Congress has wiped out the FCC’s broadband privacy protection rules. These rules prevent service providers from selling user’s information without their knowledge.
The repulsion of net neutrality has given ISPs a free run for sure. Previously, the service providers were under the surveillance of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). However, when a Federal Court deprived the FTC of power, so all of the ISPs and companies come under the surveillance of the FCC.
How ISPs Sell Information:
There is a difference between data collected by sites like Facebook and Google and by ISPs. When you access through Facebook or Google, so you are somehow knowingly agreeing on them to track you in exchange for their services.
However, if you don’t want this, then you can stop using their services. But you are left with no choice when it comes to service providers. It is because you need to use their services to get access to the internet. Moreover, you are also paying for it.
The primary purpose of gathering user’s information is to sell it to advertising partners. Since advertising generates a significant amount of revenue for the service providers, so it is essential for the ISP to collect user’s information. The advertising partners use the information to make relevant ads and then place it on their networks. The profit is equally divided among two parties.
The ISP does this by installing packet sniffing software on all ports to their incoming user traffic. By doing so, they get to know the header information like the websites you visit and also the end address of both senders in case of any encrypted HTTPS connections which either use SSL or TLS for encryption. However, if the website you visit is not HTTPS, then a packet sniffer such as Wireshark can even access to the contents of the message and other media content sent across.
Thus, the ISP collect all your information and pass it to the advertising partners.
Users are tracked online:
Although if the net neutrality rules had not been wiped out, things would be the same somehow. When it comes to online privacy, so nobody cares about any law or regulation.
When a user uses the internet, so he/she leave the fact that they are getting tracked and all their activities are being surveillance. Mainly talking about websites, you’re followed when you are logged in. But in the case of ISPs, you are traced over the entire course of time.
There are contrary by the ISPs over the selling of user’s information. Some ISPs says that user’s information is not used in any wrong way by the advertising partners while other states that they gather user’s personal information such as bank account details, credit card details, and security numbers also.
How can you prevent yourself?
We can’t be denied the fact that ISPs gather and sell user’s personal information. To protect yourself, a user can adopt several ways to avoid such thing happen again in the future. Although many of the users aren’t much aware of these ways, once if known then it will be easy for them to stay secure.
One of the best solution to protect yourself against online privacy violation is encrypt your internet traffic. By doing so, the ISP will become incapable of monitoring your internet traffic. Fundamentally, there are three ways of encrypting your internet traffic, i.e. use a VPN, Tor, and HTTPS.
When you use a VPN service, so you make a secure and encrypted tunnel between your system and the VPN server. It not only just hide your real IP address but also encrypts your data. Using a VPN means that your ISP won’t know which website you visit and similarly, the website won’t be able to recognize your location too.
However, each VPN is managed by a single provider while Tor is a distributed network which tries to protect anonymity by routing traffic by a series of relays.
Using a Tor browser means that your IP address is hidden and it shows that your connection is coming from the IP address of a Tor exit relay which can be present anywhere in the world. Using VPN with Tor browser is better than using Tor with VPN. It provides better security and protection in terms of anonymity.
You can also protect yourself by using HTTPS web commands. It protects against common MITM attacks by which attackers obtain users personal information.
To sum up all, it can be said that we can’t stop the ISPs from selling our information, but at least we can prevent it. We can avoid it by following the ways discussed above. Online privacy is essential in today’s world when the internet is getting vulnerable day by day. However, by adopting some measures, we can surely make our online privacy stronger.