Drama Kings and Drama Queens Fuel the Latest Internet Drama
Understanding the Latest Internet Uproar: Your ISP Selling Your Browsing History
First, we are 100% in favor of everyone doing everything they can to stay safe on the Internet, and doing what they can do to keep as much personal privacy as they can. But we don’t believe in [SHOCK] headlines that lead people to believe things which are not completely true. So, we’re not “anti-privacy”, we are anti-sensationalism,and pro-truth.
We should start calling a lot of these tech writers who publish newsletters “Drama Kings” or “Drama Queens”. We used to think that some of them were only doing the [SHOCKING] thing to get more readers – which is the same as saying to make more money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, as long as you earn it honestly. We’re not sure how honestly some of these [SHOCK] drama kings and queens are making money if they have to rile readers up into a frenzied mob.
Keep in mind if you have signed up for one of those grocery or drug store discount cards, they track everything you buy and how much you spend, and sell the data they collect. It’s been going on for years. And people are willingly signing up for those cards to save a few percent on their purchases. And some people give away very personal information on Facebook, seemingly without a second thought. Facebook has been selling your data to advertisers for more than two years. Of course, if you want, you can opt-out:
“If you don’t want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won’t,” explains Facebook. “You can opt out of this type of ad targeting in your web browser using the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt out, and on your mobile devices using the controls that iOS and Android provide.”
[SHOCK] Your ISP allows you to opt-out too. But for some reason, the Henny-Pennys of the Web with their absurd [the sky is falling] rhetoric, have convinced people to abandon reasoning and logic. The sky is not falling.
The drama kings and queens who write these [ALERT] tech articles and [SHOCKING] newsletters are whipping readers up a frenzy by making it sound like someone or some company can buy your personal data from your ISP – all they have tod is ask for it.
They want you to believe that any company can call an ISP and say they want data on customer Maynard B. Krebs who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. And, while you’re at it, they say, “give us his Social Security number and the number of kids he has, the name of his kids, how old they are, where they go to school and what Mrs. Krebs does for a living. All all his medical conditions and medications he takes.”
NO! NO! NO! That’s not how it works. Not at all. And we’re not defending or saying that congress was right or wrong in passing this bill, but what we are saying is that it’s not the big [SHOCKING] deal some of these drama kings and queens are making it out to be.
Here’s how it really works. Say SlipperySlide Inc. makes snowmobiles. And they want to know how many people in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio have an interest in snowmobiles. They can now buy user browsing data from one or more ISPs, who serve that area, that would tell them how many searches were made for snowmobiles, snowmobile-related items, and how many people clicked links related to snowmobiles. They would then know if it was a good market to spend advertising dollars or not. But one thing that is certain: It would not show them who searched for snowmobiles. It would not show any names, address or any other personal user information.
And you need to know that you can OPT OUT of your ISP selling your browsing data simply by contacting your ISP and telling them you want to opt out. If you call your ISP right now or login to their web site and opt out nothing will change for you. It will be the way it always has been. We agree you shouldn’t have to opt-out, but the world isn’t always the way we would like it to be.
The drama kings and queens know all of this, of course, but they would rather stir up a commotion because it generates more readers and [GUESS WHAT?] more money. Plus, and most of you know this, these days anyone can experts who will write articles or testify to and stand behind any position you decide to take or lend credence to any opinion you have.
BUT no matter what you do, opt-out or not, your ISP is still going to log everything you do on the Internet. They always have and they always will. How do you think they criminals ho commit crimes online? Police or other officials can get a court order and get logs from any ISP about any ISP customer about whom they have probable cause to believe an online crime was committed. These logs show everything a person has done on the Internet, every site they’ve visited… EVERYTHING. But, this isn’t the data that’s being sold… a court order is needed to obtain this kind of information.
Privacy on the Internet is an illusion. No matter what anyone says. If you’re thinking that buying into a VPN Service is going to protect you, you better think again. Unless you have researched the VPN well, you will never be sure whether or not they secretly keep logs and whether they sell your data. Many VPNs are located outside of the United States (and outside of Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand as well), and those VPNs are subject the laws or lack of laws in the country in which they’re located. We’re not saying all VPNs are bad, but just because a VPN says they will protect your privacy doesn’t mean they will.
Don’t let the drama kings and queens mislead and upset you. “The truth will set you free.”