How to protect your personal information from ISPs
How to protect your personal information from ISPs. Image credit: Steemit.

Washington — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new Consumer Privacy Policies on October 27, 2016. The FCC explained that if ISPs wanted to use their customers’ information, they needed their authorization.

The rules apply mainly to Internet Service Providers (or ISPs), the companies responsible (as their name indicates) of selling and maintaining broadband Internet connections across the United States for homes, businesses, and mobile networks.

The FCC now requires providers to obtain consent from users to use and share sensitive personal information such as location, browsing history, social security numbers, and financial data.

At the same time, ISPs must give consumers the opportunity to stop the sharing of non-sensitive information, such as their email address.

How do I identify my ISP? 

An Internet Services Provider now has to give users the opportunity to opt-out of certain options that automatically allow the company to use and share their information. Big businesses already give users these options, though sometimes they might be hard to find.

If users want to learn how their ISP is handling their data and how to stop them from doing it, the first step should be identifying their ISP company. There are websites like Whoismyisp.com that give people this information.

The ISP can be different from the company from which a user initially purchases the Internet service. For example, if a user has DIRECTV as their internet provider, that means their ISP is AT&T, its parent company.

What can I do to protect my information from Internet Providers?

AT&T is a good example of how companies offer consumers the chance of hiding their information. In the company’s official website, on the Privacy Policy section, clients can find options to opt-out from advertising, though they can not entirely cut it from the service.

The privacy options are easy to access and use and cover a wide variety of scenarios, like mailing campaigns and information on Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), which contains subscriptions data, usage, and billing information, and calling patterns.

Comcast, the biggest American ISP, does not offer easy-access options for protecting personal information.

The official Customer Privacy website for Xfinity, its Internet company, addresses frequent questions regarding data sharing and CPNI usage but does not offer readily available opt-out links, only direct contact information such as Xfinity’s Customer Service landline.

Other large ISPs in the U. S. include Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, Verizon, Frontier, EarthLink, CableOne, and AOL.

Source: AT&T, Comcast

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