Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Brave New World I Suppose

I've noticed a recent uptick in traffic to PC from Normally I'd not worry to much about it, but this uptick almost exactly matches the passing of the new US law to block online privacy regulation.

If you've not heard about it before now, the long and the short of it is that back in October the Federal Communications Commission presented rules prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) from selling your online browsing data to third parties: companies wanting to sell you stuff, private investigators, anyone at all. Congress decided that was "executive overreach" and passed the bill above to elimination such privacy regulations, with the side effect of letting ISPs sell your data to whomever they feel like it.

Normally if this were a problem with one ISP, you could simply replace them with another ISP. The issue here is that in the US a huge number of people have only one real ISP to use --their cable company-- because local towns and cities often have non-compete agreements with one cable company in exchange for that company providing local access programming.* So, if your local ISP decides to sell your online browsing data, you don't have an alternative available to jump to.

To fix this issue, some people have set up their own virtual private networks (VPNs) and others are using anonymizing services such as So while some people look at browsing records from anonymizeme and think "okay, who's doing something shady?", I look at it as merely a sign of the times.

And naturally, late night television has been using this new law as cannon fodder:


*That's something that has almost completely disappeared from local cable, but that hasn't kept the cable companies from using their local monopolies to keep competition out.

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