There are various reasons why your ISP tracks your online data. While the tracking isn’t typically as invasive as eavesdropping on your conversations, you might not be comfortable with the thought of them collecting data from your browsing activities.
Every ISP tracks its user’s data, and each of them has its own set of privacy rules. The main reason ISPs collect data is for marketing purposes, however, some of the data they seek out could be considered a breach of confidentiality and trust. Read on to learn more about what your ISP knows about you, why they track your data, and what you can do to keep your data private.
What Your ISP Knows About You
Unless you encrypt your Internet traffic, your ISP has the right to access any of the data that you send and receive. This includes your search history, the websites you visit, whom you email, and even certain purchases and transactions you make. Your ISP can also see which apps you download and use, as well as which IoT devices you connect to your computer. As creepy as it sounds, your ISP might know more about you than some of your closest friends and family members do.
Why Your ISP Tracks Your Data
Although there’s no doubt about ISP tracking being creepy and invasive, the main reason they do it is to make more money. It isn’t really about you, per se, but about learning your habits in order to streamline marketing and for other revenue-driven incentives. When your ISP collects your personal data, it might use it to sell to third parties for marketing services, to censor activities according to government regulations, or for bandwidth throttling to limit server crashes and network congestion.
How You Can Stay Private
If you don’t feel comfortable with your ISP collecting your sensitive data and personal information, there are measures you can take to keep them from tracking your online activity.
Use a VPN
The first thing you’ll want to do is use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it serves to encrypt all the data you send and receive over the internet so that no one can gain access to it, including ISPs, hackers, and even the government. A VPN download will allow you to connect to a remote server outside of South Africa, which masks your IP address so that no one can even tell where in the world you really are. Using a VPN is one of the most popular and effective ways to stay private when you browse the Internet.
Use a Privacy-Focused Browser
Instead of using a popular browser like Chrome or Mozilla, which aren’t really in the business of protecting the privacy of their users, use a privacy-focused browser like Brave, DuckDuckGo, or the Tor browser. These browsers have loads of features centered around protecting the privacy of their users. For instance, some browsers block ads and stop third-party trackers automatically, and do not collect any data on users’ online activities. Use a Privacy-Focused Search Engine.
So, you’ve connected to a VPN and chosen a privacy-focused browser to use. The final step you can take to seriously secure your privacy is to use a privacy-focused search engine to search for things on the Internet. While Google is the world’s best search engine, the last thing they care about is your privacy. Search engines like Qwant, Swisscows, and DuckDuckGo are in the business of protecting your privacy. There are plenty of other privacy-focused browsers out there as well.
If you’re tired of wondering how much of your sensitive data and personal information your ISP is gathering about you, you’re not alone. The Internet is a pretty indispensable tool these days, especially as more and more people are working from home and using it to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. You shouldn’t have to feel creeped out and exposed every time you open your computer. If you do nothing and use all the most popular browsers and search engines, you’re definitely going to be vulnerable to breaches of privacy. Follow the steps above to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your privacy.