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Your Personal Browsing History Could Be Sold or Traded to the Highest Bidder – How the Government is Letting Internet Companies Violate the Privacy Rights of Citizens

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Joliet general practice lawyersAlthough the Constitution does not explicitly state you have the right to privacy, it does elude to such protection. The Supreme Court has also acknowledged that several amendments, when combined, create this right. What happens, though, when the government itself strips away that right? More importantly, what do you do when it is happening without your knowledge? 

It might sound a little far-fetched or a little like something out of a conspiracy novel, but it is a very real issue. In fact, it has been happening for some time now; internet companies have been allowed to sell, market, and trade your browsing history to advertisers and other relevant companies. What is worse, the Obama administration had set a law that would have stopped this trade and sale of your private information, but the Trump administration recently repealed that law, stopping it before it ever went into effect. 

What does this mean for you? Is there anything you can do to prevent it from happening? Perhaps, but perhaps not. At the very least, though, you should be aware of the issue. After all, a privacy violation of this magnitude should never be taken lightly. 

What You Need to Know 

Internet providers collect information about every person that uses the internet. They track what you are looking at, where you are, your shopping preferences, and other aspects of your daily activity. Most have stated that they will not share “sensitive information” about their customers without consent, such as your health or banking information, but this can often be determined from your browsing history. For example, if you look up a list of symptoms on the internet, your provider, and ultimately the companies they may sell your information to, may be able to deduce certain details about you and your life. 

Mostly, it seems that the information is used to tailor advertisements to your preferences. So, for example, if you look at a shoe shopping site, you might see ads for shoe companies while browsing the internet. The information could also be used to better understand how consumers use and shop on the web. However, there is no limit on what they can do with this information, nor is there anything to stop them from using or selling it. 

What Can You Do About It? 

Although privacy experts do not believe that the law would allow companies to sell your information with your name attached, none can say with certainty that it will not happen. The law is murky, at best. In fact, there is no way to even rule out the idea that the police or Federal Bureau of Investigation might not obtain your browsing data against you. In short, you could be tracked doing almost anything, and there is almost no limit to what can be done with that information. What is worse, there is no guaranteed way to keep this information private. Setting your browser to private will not do it, and virtual private networks (VPNs) have their downfalls; you need to know how to use them, and not all are as confidential as they claim to be. In short, do your homework before choosing one.  

Need Legal Assistance with an Important Matter? 

Contact Us Today At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we recognize that the government, law enforcement, internet providers, manufacturing companies, insurance companies, and many other businesses and agencies ignore your rights. We are here to protect and uphold those rights. Whatever your legal needs, we will fight to preserve your best interest. Schedule a consultation with our Joliet general practice lawyers to learn more about how we can assist with your case. Call us at 847-934-6000 today.


About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/24/technology/spying-companies-isp-senate-vote/?iid=EL

https://www.aclu.org/other/students-your-right-privacy

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/28/internet-service-providers-sell-browsing-history-house-vote





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