New Mexico Consumer Advocates Condemn Internet Privacy Rollback
Internet privacy has increasingly gained traction with the public as we are shifting most of our activities online. Contemporarily, this is an essential step towards complete digitalization of the tedious activities that we have to perform daily. These include shopping, reading, working and even catching up with friends. As our internet activities increase, so does our amount of data present on the platform. What most do not know is that these digital footprints are valuable for businesses who are interested in target marketing.
Specifically, digital footprints are treated to describe more about a person which further implies on your behavior. Firms are willing to pay top dollars for this sort of information which describes customer behavior without much investment. It is the reason, a visit to an online shopping website opens the door for multiple ads that seem to follow you everywhere. Big companies like Facebook and Google are clear on their customer information sharing policies. However, you are not limited to using these platforms and can switch to secure browsers or websites at will.
Companies like Google sell your information based on your activities while on their platform. Seeing as there are no loopholes in their operations, the best option for a sensitive customer is to use an alternative browser. Preferably one that does not sell your information. While this might return a sense of privacy to an internet user, the entire framework is rigged with loopholes where your information can be intercepted, sold and used. Your Internet Service Providers (ISP) are thoroughly informed of your internet activities since you have to use their systems while accessing the internet.
Unfortunately, you have little choice over who gets to be your ISP given the few options in the market. These organizations have stored large volumes of data on every client on their networks and have previously been unregulated on how they use this information. Obama presented an initiative that would bar these ISPs from utilizing personal information without the consent of the owners. Herein, you could refuse your ISP permission to sell your data to third parties.
Ideally, this proposal would resolve a host of internet privacy issues that are becoming evident as more people shift to this platform. Some ISPs like AT&T developed opt-out options for their customers by giving them back control over their data for a slightly higher fee. Most Americans have been unconcerned over this issue and have not bothered to take steps against this internet privacy violation. Lack of better or cheaper solutions has contributed to this lagged reaction by internet users.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was given mandate by the former president to implement the proposed policies. However, a bill got through Congress earlier this year which removed the FCC's permission to protect your online data. While Obama's proposal had not been implemented, this law allows ISPs to sell and use customer data without permission. New Mexico Public Interest Research Group has been vocal about this issue pointing out the irregularity in such a law.
The advocate group has claimed that FCC's mandates have been limited to eliminate its ability to protect you. Further, they note that these companies already have a wealth of information on their customers and implementing this policy will allow them to sell the information openly. The internet privacy rollback has increased internet user vigilance with many people looking for alternative providers and moving to virtual private networks (VPN). However, all these options are quite expensive, and we might see a rollback into the traditional ways of doing things. Going back to postal mail and physical interactions might just be the way forward.