This post was originally published on March 31, 2017.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives followed the Senate in voting to roll back FCC regulations that previously barred internet service providers (ISPs) from selling your browsing data.
Once President Trump gives his signature, ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will be able to shop your internet history around.
This latest assault on Americans’ right to privacy leaves consumers little choice but to find their own ways to protect their data. As many have pointed out, VPNs are now more necessary than ever. However, most VPN services only provide apps for specific devices, like desktops or smartphones. Using a VPN on your computer and phone is a great start to protecting your privacy, but you probably also wish to protect other smart devices and IoT gadgets (think Amazon Echo, Apple TV, and Google Home).
There is a way to fight back—and it doesn’t involve waiting on hold for 30 minutes to speak to a Congressional aide.
If you want to encrypt the online activity on all your family’s devices, set up a VPN router. A VPN router encrypts internet traffic at the source by default—you won’t have to remember to switch on your VPN each time you start a device.
Smart house, big data
Nowadays everything has online functionality. Refrigerators can give weather reports, TVs can download apps, and Amazon Echo and Google Home serve as personal assistants for your entire family.
But these smart devices hold a treasure trove of information for advertisers, including data about your calendar, consumption patterns, and media preferences.
How VPNs prevent ISP data logging
Every time you connect to the internet through your ISP, you get an IP address that tells web hosting servers where to send information. Your ISP can track and record what goes to your IP address, meaning they can see your entire browsing history.
The new ruling on internet data lets ISPs sell your browsing data. Scarier still is that ISPs can track anyone connected to your home network, like your kids, friends, and neighbors piggybacking off your internet.
By spying on your internet traffic, your ISP can sell your browsing data related to:
- The websites your son uses to do his homework
- The websites of the ski resorts you considered for vacation
- The webpages you visited about a health condition you’d rather keep discreet
Why should big corporations be able to sell your internet logs? The answer is simple: They shouldn’t.
VPNs are a multifaceted solution. Not only can they route your internet traffic through a separate encrypted server that prevents your ISP from monitoring your online activity, but they also give you a new IP address. Thus, whatever you do on the internet isn’t associated with the IP address your ISP gives you.
A VPN router is the best way for you to get VPN protection for every network-connected device in your home. If your fridge, Samsung Smart TV, and computer connect to your VPN router, then they will always connect to the internet through VPN.
If your ISP can’t log your data, they have nothing to sell.
Making tech easy: How to get a VPN router
Typically, setting up a VPN on a router is a somewhat confusing process that requires you to manually configure your router with server addresses and VPN files.
ExpressVPN has done away with the hassle by introducing the ExpressVPN app for routers.
The ExpressVPN app for routers runs on a variety of Linksys models and provides a clean interface for selecting the perfect VPN location. It’s designed to be easy to use for everyone. Dropouts are no problem, either: ExpressVPN for routers will automatically reconnect when a connection cuts.
More information about the ExpressVPN app for routers can be found here.
Fighting back one house at a time
Your data is your property. Big corporations shouldn’t be allowed to auction off your privacy. Protect your home internet with a VPN router, and give ISPs nothing to sell.
How do you feel about the state of internet privacy in America? Share in the comments section below!