By Becky Waring
Alarmingly, ISPs now have the tools to log, analyze, and respond to every bit of data you send and receive.
Proxy services can’t prevent ISPs from snooping, but encryption can — although you need to know about some significant limitations.
Confidential business data may need protection
Last year, Charter Communications, a major U.S.-based Internet service provider, started using the data it was collecting regarding its clients’ online behavior in order to target specific ads to users. Rumblings from Congress helped kill that plan, and NebuAd — the company Charter was working with on the project — recently closed its doors.
While both Congress and the FCC — as described by the Cable360.net site — are considering Internet privacy regulations, no laws yet exist in the U.S. to adequately protect against similar schemes.
Meanwhile, another targeted-advertising firm named Phorm is doing good business in the U.K. and claims to have been assured by the British government that its service is legal.
According to a recent Associated Press story, Phorm has “struck partnerships with three access providers reaching 70% of Britain’s broadband market — BT Group PLC, Virgin Media Inc., and Carphone Warehouse Group PLC’s TalkTalk … BT has completed its trial of Phorm’s ad-targeting service and expects to deploy it this year.” Phorm claims to ask for the consumer’s explicit approval to receive targeted ads.