By now the word is getting around how House and Senate Republicans voted and approved the removal of privacy regulations regarding consumer / citizen browsing history. Now that your privacy has been removed, folks are asking ‘what does this mean?’ or simply remixing indifferent, saying ‘so what?’ while others say; ‘they already can get this information.’
No, they couldn’t.
Prior to this regulation being removed you possessed a far greater degree of privacy. Police could, by way of a court order or proper legal process, access your browser history but now that private corporations can access your history directly without your approval, its open season (and btw: police likely will no longer need to have a court order to access your private browsing history now that regulations have been removed – just saying).
Here are just SOME of the likely immediate impacts:
- Accessing your history means for better marketing and targeting on the part of private companies. Folks seeing that you’re researching for specific items or services will create targeted online ads far better (Facebook, or social media sites aside) then before. Think it’s unsettling now that those Facebook ads keep popping up regarding those websites you’ve just visited? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
- Insurance companies and your employers can view your history without your knowledge, seeing how you’re looking at sites regarding certain diseases and act on the assumption that you have such a disease – and either deny you insurance courage or simply fire you from your job without telling you why.
- Looking for a new job? Your employer can now access your browsing history and likewise fire you from your job – and again, without really telling you why you were fired.
- Looking at ‘naughty’ sites? If you’re closeted sexually, this could be the ‘kiss of death’ for your career.
- Doing some reading or study about banned countries? Government officials could place you on a watch list, monitoring your movements without your realization, perhaps even denying you your passport application if you wished to travel abroad.
- Involved in a court / legal action? Better watch where you go and what your browser has: it could come up against you in your court action, with opposing counsel using this information against you in your legal action.
- Are you an attorney? There’s nothing preventing your opponents from seeking what kind defense or offense you’re formulating in the course of trying a case.
- It wouldn’t be too much of a reach to state that with growing governmental sentiment, folks involved with certain public groups, reading publications and websites deemed as anti-governmental could also be targeted. Think this is paranoid thinking? Know your history; this wouldn’t be the first time this kind of thing happened – and now with the removal of your browser search privacy, it’s made all the more easier.
- And if this isn’t bad enough, this also includes where you are. Geocoding – mapping the location of where you post / conduct your Internet accessing – is also a growing issue as pricing for items and/or services can vary based upon where you are accessing the Internet. Some folks in certain zip codes pay more for products and services then others; now that your privacy protections have been removed, some can expect to pay more depending on where they are.
In the long run, privacy within an open society is not a contradiction: it is a necessity. Without certain safeguards and practices, we won’t have the confidence we feel to express our opinions without having to be defensive and fearful. The removal of privacy only encourages fear and intimidation within a Democracy, while enabling private entities to pocket ever more profit at your cost.
And by the way: this includes your iPhones / Androids / Tablets as well.
It’s now all totally open.
You are now naked on the Internet.
There are, however, viable cost-effective steps you can take to better protect yourself while continuing to live your life and remain confident in being who you are without having some nosy nitwit looking over your shoulder; we’ll discuss those shortly in the next round here at Shockwaverider.