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U.S. ISP Law: Is This 1984?

Grace Roberts

07.04.17 3 min. read


We’ve already told you about the recent law for internet service providers (ISPs) that has been passed in the United States. Now that it has been signed into law, it’s crucial that each of us understand what’s happening, the reason behind the new law, and how it affects each of us as modern-day, internet-dwelling individuals.

We sat down with F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan, who lays out the basics of the new ISP law in a timely video series.

What’s going on?

As Sean states, “There are two regulatory authorities that deal with consumer protections related to internet technologies and telecommunication service.” The authorities that he is referring to are the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Prior to the new law for ISPs being signed, the FCC provided consumers with default protection; the new legislation has now passed things into the hands of the FTC, which does not offer the same privacy by default.

Put simply, this means that your ISP can now sell your browsing history without your consent.

Sean points out that there will be opportunities for consumers to opt out of their data being collected and sold by their ISPs, but as many people realistically won’t bother to go through the tedious task of opting out, the majority of consumers’ privacy will remain at a disadvantage under the new law.

 Why is this happening?

Up until this point, web giants like Facebook and Google have possessed very different advertising technology than that of ISPs. Because Google and Facebook are regulated by the FTC and ISPs previously by the FCC, the methods in which these organizations could market to consumers differed greatly. “Google and Facebook only have to provide opt-out options as opposed to explicitly asking ‘can we use your information for marketing purposes?’”, says Sullivan.

With the new ISP law in place, ISP regulation has been shifted over the FTC – this effectively puts the ad tech of ISPs on a level playing field as Facebook, Google and the like.

Good news for ISPs, bad news for consumers.

What you can do to fight back

Broadband privacy is your human right. What can you do to keep your ISP from looking over your shoulder each time you connect to the internet?

Our answer: Make use of a reliable VPN.

“I use [a VPN] for security purposes when I’m out and about on my devices like my iPad, my phone, and my laptop. If I’m sitting at a coffee shop and I don’t know the Wi-Fi network, I use a VPN to protect my traffic. So if I’m at home and want to do the same thing, I can enable the VPN there as well and now there’s an encrypted tunnel between my device and the VPN.”

Using a VPN, such as F-Secure FREEDOME VPN, your ISP will be unable to view, collect and sell your online data. Whereas the new law for ISPs no longer promises consumers privacy by default, a VPN can fulfill that promise.

Take a stand for your privacy. Download FREEDOME VPN for free.

Grace Roberts

07.04.17 3 min. read


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