Most savvy online surfers have no trouble booking the best prices for online travel or checking out car history on a potential auto purchase. And yet, it seems like your laptop or smartphone knows exactly what you are thinking, sending you ads on various other websites later in the week, for that special something you are thinking of buying. You may ask, how does my device know what I’m thinking? Are you really being watched by technology, like in the hit show, Person of interest? The answer is yes! But you hold the key to putting a stop to those pesky little psychic algorithms, by performing a simple search.
Recent legislation would permit ISPs to collect and sell your internet browsing data to third party vendors. Many Google Chrome users already use the built-in Incognito browser button to avoid tracking. Other internet browsers offer a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a TOR network to encrypt browsing history. If you are not sure which option is right for you, simply type in Private Browsing or Encrypt Browsing history into your search engine to learn more about the right choice for you.
Your current Right to Browse:
President Trump recently rolled back restrictions that would require ISP’s to obtain opt-in approvals before selling the customer data. All Internet Service Providers are currently required to notify customers, along with the option to opt-out of having their data gathered and sold. But, it could be easy to miss the notice, depending on where and how the notification is sent out. While numerous Internet Service Providers have made statements, attesting that they will not sell private browsing activity, you can never be too careful.
How it works:
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) stores small text files in your browser to best personalize your web browsing enjoyment. Unfortunately, your online search activity can also be used to overload you with advertisements. You can put an end to ISP advertising, by clicking on the settings tab and run a search for “personalization ads” or “opt-out” and disable the ad personalization function.