(CNN) – Is there anywhere left to hide online? From books to shoes, vacations and groceries — there’s a lot for sale on the internet, including your personal information.
Georgia Tech internet privacy expert Peter Swire gave an example, “They know you clicked on wedding rings.”
Giants like Facebook and Google already collect your profile information and search history, and use it to sell advertisements that match your interests. Now, the House has passed a bill that paves the way for internet providers to sell your web browsing history.
Swire says companies like Comcast or Verizon will now compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars, by selling what they know about you. He says, “It’s really hard to hide online unless you take strong technical measures.”
That’s because there is no reliable way to opt-out of being tracked. You can tell your internet company not to track you – there’s just one problem. “The broadband providers don’t have to honor your request about how your information is handled.”
Swire recommends using pop-up blockers, anti-tracking software like Tor, or Privacy Badger, and a virtual private network. But even VPNs can sell you out to advertisers.
The simple solution is finding an internet provider that won’t sell your data – but even that isn’t so easy.
Swire said, “In a lot of neighborhoods there’s only one ISP – Internet Service Provider – and so when there’s no choice, there’s no way for the consumer to vote with his or her feet.”
You can run – but it won’t be easy to hide.
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