Privacy is on the minds of many Americans these days. With Congress’s recent vote to reverse Obama-era internet privacy regulations, online privacy might be a thing of the past. These regulations would have prevented internet service providers from selling your browsing history on the open market. These rules have yet to go into effect. If the resolution is signed by the President, they never will. This resolution from Congress further bars the passing of similar protections in the future.
This resolution doesn’t really change what is currently going on. Your internet provider can already sell your data without your opt-in permission. The resolution does bring this lack of privacy to light. If you wish to have privacy while browsing the web, you will have to take matters into your own hands. Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are the most popular workarounds.
In short, VPNs create a secure, encrypted connection between your device and a private server. The private server acts as your proxy. All information sent from your device appears to be coming from the private server and all data passes through the private server before passing securely back to you. This obscures your movement online, but it is not foolproof.
With this resolution, Congress is effectively putting the burden of privacy entirely on consumers. Internet providers are free to wheel and deal in customers’ personal data as they see fit. Without protection under the law, you have to take privacy into your own hands. VPNs are the most popular form of data protection online. Make sure you use a VPN you trust. Furthermore, seek out service providers that have policies in place ensuring they will not sell your data. Vote with your dollars for service providers that have your privacy interests at heart. Keep fighting for laws that hold the telecommunications industry accountable.