It is now legal for your Internet and Cable providers to sell all your personal data and browsing
March 29, 2017
215-205 vote on Senate Joint Resolution 34 (H. Res. 230), the House voted to repeal broadband privacy regulations that the Obama administration’s FCC introduced in 2016. In a narrower vote than some expected, 15 Republicans broke rank to join the 190 Democrats who voted against the repeal. The FCC rules, designed to protect consumers, required ISPs to seek consent from their customers in order to share their sensitive private data (it’s worth noting that ISPs can collect it, either way). For consumers, the rollback is a bad deal no matter how you slice it.
As the issue took the floor, California Representative Anna Eshoo laid into the bill, suggesting that her Republican counterparts in the House lacked a nuanced understanding of how internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner serve a different role for consumers than the optional platforms provided by companies like Google and Facebook.
“They can use your information and sell it to the highest bidder,” Eshoo argued. “I think it’s a sad day if the bill passes.”
The Bill has passed It is outrageous that we as normal people have no more rights to privacy at all.
Thanks a lot Republicans and Trump. Something is not right but according to the law it is other companies right to have access to everything about you and to sell it to highest bidder even if it endangers you. We the public have no rights it is very sad. I hope we remember this kind of stuff when it is time to vote, do not forget. They really have no concern and the big companies promise not to abuse this, BS I say.
This pisses me off to no ends
Some tips to keep what you can safe as far as what you can do
There seems to be a new data breach in the news every week — a major company hacked, millions of usernames, passwords or credit card numbers stolen. There isn’t much that you, as an individual, can do to stop hackers from stealing the data you entrust to companies. However, there are some easy things you can do to significantly reduce the harm from such breaches.
- Outsource your passwords to a robot
The human brain can only remember so many passwords, not to mention we’re actually really bad at picking good ones. So, too often we just reuse passwords across multiple sites. This is a Very Bad Idea. Once hackers break into a website and steal a database of email addresses and passwords, they can then try to use those same passwords to login to other sites. This is a huge problem, because so many of us use the same password for our Facebook, Google, Twitter and online banking accounts. The solution instead is to use a password manager, a software tool for computers and mobile devices, which will pick random, long passwords for each site you visit, and synchronize them across your many devices. Two popular password managers are 1Password and LastPass.
- Get a U2F key — and use two-factor authentication wherever possible
One other way to protect your accounts is to make sure that even if someone learns your password, they won’t be able to log in. To do this, you’ll want to enable two-factor authentication, an additional security feature that can be added to many online accounts. For some sites, this additional step can take the form of a random number sent to your phone by text message, or running a special app on your smartphone that generates one-time login codes. A relatively new, and even easier form of two-factor authentication is a U2F security key, a device that looks like a thumb drive, which you insert into the USB port when you login to an account from a new computer. These devices, which cost about $15, can be used to add a significant boost to the security to your GMail account. Over the coming months and years, it is likely that other major tech companies will add support for the U2F token.
- Enable disk encryption
If you lose your laptop or your phone and it doesn’t have disk encryption enabled, whoever finds the device can get all your data too. On the iPhone and iPad, disk encryption is turned on by default, but for Windows, Android or Mac OS you need to make the effort to switch it on. It’s a big deal, essentially the difference between buying a new laptop (bummer) and having to put out an identity theft alert.
- Put a sticker over your webcam
There are software tools used by criminals, stalkers and generally creepy dudes that allow them to turn on your webcam without your knowledge. Granted, this doesn’t happen millions of times a year, but the horror stories are real and terrifying. One simple sticker means you use your webcam when you choose to use it.
- Encrypt your telephone calls and text messages
The voice and text message services provided by phone companies are not secure and can be spied upon with relatively inexpensive equipment. That means that your own government, a foreign government, as well as criminals, hackers and stalkers can listen to your phone calls and read your text messages. Some Internet-based mobile apps that you likely already use are much more secure, enabling you to talk privately to your loved ones and colleagues, and don’t require that you do anything or turn on any special features to get the added security protections — Apple’s FaceTime and WhatsApp on Android are both good. If you want an even stronger level of security, there is a fantastic, free tool called Signal available on Apple’s App Store.
Featured photo by TED/Adafruit Industries/CC BY-NC-NA.