US Internet Privacy Rollback Explained

The Trump administration has scrapped laws which clamped down on US internet service providers (ISPs) sharing and selling private customer data. Here’s the lowdown on why it happened, what it means for internet users in the US, and how you can still protect your privacy online.

Simon Migliano
By Simon Migliano

Your browsing history is a goldmine for advertisers. Just think what they can see:

  • Everything you’ve ever browsed or bought online.
  • Hobbies you’ve researched.
  • Health scares you’ve gone online to read up on.
  • Credit cards or insurance you’ve compared.
  • Holiday planning.
  • Random questions you wanted an answer to.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Roll up all that data and an advertiser can hit you with ads that target you with laser precision. Your browsing history is a window into your very thoughts.

Which is why the success of Big Cable in persuading the US government to repeal new protections put in place by the outgoing Obama administration is such a mortal blow for online privacy.

ISPs no longer need your permission to share your data with any third party. They are free to sell it to advertisers looking to persuade you to part with your cash through ultra-targeted online ads.

Advertisers having access to your thought processes to sell you stuff you didn’t even know you wanted might seem like the stuff of dystopian nightmares. But this where are at in 2017.

If you want to know more about what exactly is happening and why, read on. But if you just want to know how to claw back some privacy, skip ahead to our privacy tips.