The majority of internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States collect data on their customers’ online activities. They do this for a variety of reasons, including targeted advertising and internet usage measurement.
This data collection is perfectly legal in many cases. However, it can still be intrusive to your privacy, especially if your ISP sells your data to third parties without your permission.
There are a few things you can do to reduce your ISP’s ability to track you online.
Make use of a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through another server.
This makes tracking your online activities much more difficult for your ISP (or anyone else).
There are numerous reputable VPN providers; however, it is critical to select one that does not keep logs of its users’ activities. Otherwise, your ISP could gain access to your VPN usage data.
Make use of Tor
Tor is an open-source software project that routes internet traffic through a network of volunteer servers. This makes tracking your online activities extremely difficult.
It should be noted that Tor is not a perfect solution. Tor is still visible to your ISP, and some websites block traffic from Tor exit nodes. It is, however, a useful tool for protecting your privacy.
You can pay with Bitcoin
You can use Bitcoin if you are concerned about your ISP tracking your online payments. Bitcoin is a digital currency that is decentralized and can be used to make online purchases.
Most Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, which means they do not include your name or personal information. This makes tracking your online spending much more difficult for your ISP (or anyone else).
Turn off targeted advertising
Some ISPs sell their customers’ personal information to third-party advertisers. This information is used to show users targeted advertisements based on their online activities.
If you don’t want to see targeted ads, you can opt out. On their websites, many ISPs provide an opt-out option. It is important to note, however, that this will not prevent your ISP from collecting and selling your data.
Change the DNS Server
When you connect to the internet, your ISP will most likely assign you a Domain Name System (DNS) server. This server converts the names of websites into the IP addresses required to connect to them.
Some ISPs track DNS requests made to their servers to gather information about the websites you visit.
To avoid this, use a free, public DNS server.
There are numerous public DNS servers to choose from, but Cloudflare‘s 220.127.116.11 is our recommendation. This server is quick, private, and safe.
Be Wary of What You Post on Social Media
Your ISP is not the only one who monitors your online activity. Users’ data is also collected by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
If you value your privacy, be cautious about what you post on social media. Personal information, such as your home address or date of birth, should be avoided.
You should also be aware of each social media platform’s privacy settings. You can control who can see your posts and profile information by using these settings.
Maintain Software Updates
Keeping your software up to date is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. This includes your operating system, web browser, and any plugins or extensions that you may be using.
Outdated software may contain security flaws that hackers can take advantage of. You can help protect yourself from these attacks by keeping your software up to date.