After intense lobbying in the United States, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can Sell Your Browsing History


Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Charter/Spectrum, HughesNet, CenturyLink, Frontier, T-Mobile, Sprint, and every other ISP in the United States can now track and sell your browsing history. This was approved by the President, Congress, and the FTC in late April in 2017. You can see the lobbying contributions ISPs made to each congressperson here. It is embarrassingly not very much.

We believe there are far more important problems for the government to address instead of removing privacy protections for the public. That said, there are different perspectives on this issue we should at least mention. One perspective is that the rule protected folks who expected their ISP to treat their browsing privately to do so. Libertarians who see the situation may be happy in two respects, that there’s less government intervention in the marketplace (more freedom therein), and also that there have emerged tools to serve the people’s need for privacy like Epic. The complexities of what is and what isn’t an appropriate use of data and how personal it can be can get quite technical. Perhaps Congress wants to avoid regulating it simply out of confusion and the dynamic state of change. The problem is that most people expect a service that they pay for to be private without any further action on their part.

We overwhelmingly oppose this decision. It betrays the public’s assumption of privacy and opens the door to ISP abuse as well as the continued partnership of ISP-government surveillance. We do not believe in mass surveillance of any sort, even though bringing attention to the fact that your ISP and government are engaged in online surveillance is driving everyone who cares about freedom (which should be everyone in the world) to use tools like Epic to protect a free internet.

Please Note: for protection from ISP tracking of your browsing history, you must use Epic with the encrypted proxy (VPN) on.

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