There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about Internet privacy. Let’s see if we can make some sense of that.
Most people know that if you clear your web browser’s history then no one can see what websites you’ve been too. While there is truth in that, this process only removes the history from your personal computer. Since your computer connects to the Internet through your Internet providers network, their log files also contain records of everywhere you go while using their services. Generally this isn’t too great an issue and not something to worry too much about.
Recently the U.S. government has granted Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) the right to sell the Internet usage data of their customers to whomever they please, unless the customer specifically opts out. This means that anyone who does not wish the details about the websites they visit and the purchases they make must specifically contact their Internet provider to ensure that their data is not shared with advertisers.
While Canada often follows the lead of our neighbours to the south, in this case Canadians currently enjoy a different set of rules. ISP’s in Canada can share data with advertisers if they are specifically granted that right by their customers. Canadian ISP’s will still share data that has been stripped of personal information. For example “2000 of our customers visit these types of sites” as opposed to “John Smith at this address visited this type of site on these days”. This allows Canadians to maintain a modicum of privacy for now. Certainly a little more privacy than our American counterparts now have.
There are steps that can be taken to improve Internet privacy while using online services. Have a chat with your friendly neighbourhood computer guy for more information.
published in Business Venture ~ ventureguelph.ca