Are you concerned about your ISP privacy? If you are, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. Furthermore, you also have every right to be.
It stands to reason that internet service providers or ISPs can see almost all of what we’re doing on the web. After all, it’s directly through their networks that the overwhelming majority of our internet traffic flows.
Of course, this also begs the question: Should I be worried about ISP privacy?
It’s easy to think that, because you’re doing nothing untoward on the web, there’s no need to worry about your internet service provider having visibility of your various online activities.
At the same time, you have to wonder, knowing that they’ve got the ability to monitor your movements on the internet, just who—and what, precisely—are they tracking, if anything at all?
Newsflash: It’s not a case of specifically who or what, because, chances are, your ISP is essentially tracking everyone and everything that it’s capable of monitoring.
While they’re unlikely to be actively snooping on you personally, there’s still a sweeping collection of data being carried out. This is going on every second of every day by pretty much all of the world’s mainstream internet service providers.
Admittedly, this varies from internet service provider to internet service provider. What’s tracked, why it’s tracked, and whether it’s stored—and for how long—could be anyone’s guess. Generally speaking, most ISPs will have their own unique set of privacy rules pertaining to how your data is handled.
Without knowing what these rules are, though, your internet service provider could be saving and even selling huge troves of information about you, your family, your personal and professional endeavors, and more.
So, what can—or should—you do about it? Thankfully, if you’re concerned about ISP privacy and your exposure to being monitored, there are several steps that you can take to improve matters.
Take control of your ISP privacy
First, do a little digging. Take a peek at your internet service provider’s privacy rules. They should be fairly transparent, but if they’re not, or you’re not totally satisfied with what you’re seeing, look at switching to a different ISP.
Some ISPs place greater significance on their users’ privacy than others, so shop around.
Reassuringly, regardless of individual internet service providers’ policies, you’re almost certainly protected at least to some degree by one or more different privacy laws.
However, like anything in life, don’t take this for granted. These privacy laws also tend to vary wildly from country to country, so don’t be afraid to research precisely what the score is for you personally.
Even with laws in place, your ISP is still very much able to track the websites and their individual pages that you visit online. They can also see when you’re doing so, how often, and for how long each time.
Even the most outwardly privacy-conscious individuals are likely being monitored in this way unless steps have been taken to prevent it. Those who are less conscious of their privacy may also be having their personal information, specific current locations, social media data, and more collected.
It’s perhaps best, then, to equip yourself with or employ one or more ISP privacy tools, ISP privacy services, or ISP privacy techniques.
ISP privacy tools
Private web browsers
For most people, accessing the internet in privacy starts with their web browser. Accordingly, it’s important to select one that aligns with your ISP privacy goals.
Today, even a standard browser such as Microsoft Edge may be adequate with the right in-browser privacy settings. The same is largely true to some extent of mainstream propositions such as Google Chrome, too, through one or more customized settings.
For a more robust solution, choose a web browser with security at its core, such as Brave or Tor. Remember to also install the same corresponding browser on any mobile devices you use, and not just your laptop or desktop computer.
Online privacy publications
A number of paid and free subscriptions now exist for privacy-focused publications and newsletters.
If you’re really serious about your ISP privacy, consider subscribing or periodically dipping in and out to stay abreast of the latest news and information.
ISP privacy techniques
Use HTTPS encryption
Now a feature on most websites, HTTPS encryption plays a crucial part in maintaining your ISP privacy. While your internet service provider will still be able to see that you’ve visited a particular website, that’s all they can see.
Where HTTPS is in place, they’re unable to see which individual pages you visit or any information you submit. This certainly doesn’t keep your browsing totally private from your internet service provider, but it prevents the unnecessary transmission of data. It also stops them from being able to snoop on exactly what you do once you’ve arrived on a given website.
Look for HTTPS, rather than just HTTP, in websites’ URLs to check that they’re using this all-important encryption standard.
Opt-out of any unnecessary tracking
Where the option exists, always choose to opt-out of any cookie-like trackers or behavioral monitoring utilized by your internet service provider.
These should be an opt-in feature in the first instance, depending on your ISP, but it’s always a good idea to check. This is especially true if another member of your household may have opted in at some point, inadvertently or otherwise, without your knowledge.
Adjust your domain name system settings
Your domain name system—or DNS—settings determine how you and your devices are identified, both on your own network or networks, and on the wider internet.
Instead of using your internet service provider’s default DNS settings, explore third-party providers such as OpenDNS. By separating your DNS and ISP, you automatically become harder to track.
If you’ve reviewed your internet service provider’s privacy rules and you’re not happy with how you’re being tracked or the ways in which your data is being used, change companies.
Smaller ISPs, in particular, are now proud to promote the fact that they specifically do not collect users’ browsing data as a part of their service provision.
More privacy-focused internet service providers are constantly on the lookout for new customers, so there may also be a deal to be had in the process. Look to reduce your monthly ISP cost, and, if you’re still concerned about your privacy, consider spending the difference on one of the following ISP privacy services for added peace of mind.
ISP privacy services
Virtual private networks
Generally made available on a subscription basis, a virtual private network or VPN can offer privacy and security beyond that provided by, for example, HTTPS encryption and private web browsers.
What’s more, not only does a VPN protect you and your computer or laptop’s privacy, it also helps to protect other devices on your network like cell phones, tablets, and internet-enabled equipment such as digital assistants.
By creating a secure connection between you and your devices and the websites and internet-enabled pieces of equipment that you rely on, you’re largely protected from the prying eyes of your ISP.
This is doubly true when your VPN is configured to use proxy servers. In this instance, your internet service provider will only be able to see you connecting to these servers. Beyond that, they’re completely in the dark and have no visibility of your ultimate browsing destinations.
Internet privacy companies
Companies now exist focused chiefly or even exclusively on the internet privacy of their customers. This includes assisting with, among other concerns, ISP privacy.
DuckDuckGo, for example, offers its users the ability to more regularly use encrypted connections.
The company proudly empowers its users to take control of their personal information online. It also offers a number of applications and web browser extensions to protect them from snooping third parties, such as Google and social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Alternatively, digital reputation agencies such as InternetPrivacy.com are poised to help clients, including businesses and individuals, to take control of their internet browsing privacy, ISP security, and more.
At InternetPrivacy.com, we provide world-class online reputation and privacy solutions to protect you, and, at the same time, rid the web of negative information. Employed by clients around the world, we work hard to help them safeguard against the growing range of threats posed by the internet and its use.
In addition to being expertly equipped to assist you in your ISP privacy measures, we can also help to remove negative information from the web, suppress harmful or unwanted Google results, repair your reputation as it stands online, monitor your presence on social media around the clock, and more.
In a world of show and tell, InternetPrivacy.com values privacy at its core. Your privacy and reputation are two of your most valuable assets, and at InternetPrivacy.com, we make sure that they’re both handled with absolute care and attention.
For a free, no-obligation analysis of your current online reputation and ISP privacy measures, contact our expert team of software gurus, legal professionals, and analysts by calling 866-349-0130 now.