Does your ISP track your browsing history?
What you surf the Internet is your personal business, as long as you don’t do anything illegal. However, while you may assume that your data is private, the truth is that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can still access your browsing history. With thousands of customers, ISPs may not actively view your browsing data. However, they can certainly access your browsing history if the need arises. To find out if your ISP is tracking your browsing history, here are some important things to understand.
Why ISPs Track Your Browsing Data
There are several reasons why your ISP may be tracking your browsing data. Users’ browsing data may be used to generate revenue. What some ISPs do is they aggregate browsing data anonymously and sell it en masse to marketing companies. There, the data can be used to generate user behavior insights and other analytical reports.
Another key reason is that ISPs may be required by law to provide information about a specific person in case it is demanded by authorities such as the police or a court. In such cases, your browsing history may be shared with the relevant government agency.
There are also ISPs that charge a premium to secure your privacy. Customers who do not opt for the premium service will have their browsing history stored and accessible when needed.
Data laws in the country
Whether or not ISPs track your browsing history and what they can do with it depends on the data and privacy laws of the respective country. For example, if your country has strict anti-piracy laws, you might get into trouble downloading copyrighted material such as books, songs, and movies.
Risk of hacker attacks
In most cases, it is generally accepted that your ISP is not using your personal data in an unlawful manner. However, things can still go wrong if, for example, there is a hacker attack on your ISP’s servers. In such cases, your private browsing date may be compromised. There is nothing you or your ISP can do in such situations.
Can your ISP see your passwords?
Your ISP can only see your password if it is sent over the Internet without encryption. This usually happens when you connect to insecure sites that don’t have HTTPS. Even assuming your ISP doesn’t do such things, a hacker can still intercept your data sent to untrusted websites. Be sure to avoid transacting on sites that don’t have HTTPS. Entering passwords on HTTPS sites is completely secure. It cannot be known to your ISP or anyone else, as it is done through advanced encryption.
What can you do to secure your browsing history?
Many options can be used to secure your browsing history. A free option is the Tor Browser which protects your privacy by routing internet data through multiple servers located around the world. For more advanced security, the natural choice will be VPNs. These VPNs may charge subscription fees, but you’ll have peace of mind because your browsing history is 100% safe.