Well, SJ34 passed. That little gem can be read here.
"Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect."
Basically, it means ISPs no longer have to ask you whether you agree to their selling your private browsing data or not.
So, never mind what I think about this usurpation of your right to privacy: What can you do to protect yourself? The linked article from TechRepublic goes into it in some detail, but it boils down to this:
- Use ToR: We've written about ToR several times at TechRepublic, and with good reason: It works. That doesn't mean it's easy to set up or get used to, though. One more reason not to rely on ToR for daily browsing is that lots of websites block ToR traffic because it's impossible to monetize. ( https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/doc/ListOfServicesBlockingTor )
- Use a VPN: Virtual private networks are sort of like ToR, in that they relay your traffic through a bunch of servers before spitting you out at your destination. The free ones aren't that good, however, and the good ones are far from free. Expect slower browsing speeds too: All that rerouting takes precious milliseconds.
- Consider local ISPs: Some of the biggest lobbyists for the repeal of regulations protecting consumer data are ISPs like Comcast and Verizon—they stand to make billions in targeted ad deals. Some small-scale local ISPs have said they won't collect or sell data, so take a look at them if you're looking for a new provider.
- Research: If you're curious about your ISP's position on data gathering look into it. Call, email, or check out their website and if you don't find an explicit statement saying they don't collect or sell data it's safe to assume they will.
I chose not to use ToR. Frankly, it's a P.I.T.A., and use Opera, instead. "I'll use 'incognito' mode." - won't help much at all as the ISP will see the url request.
The best you can really do is a VPN...and yeah, it'll be slower, but it'll also protect you more. Also, if you have a choice of ISPs, check out their privacy policies.
Sorry to have to write this at all...it's just a measure of how much your legislators regard you as a person deserving privacy versus a commodity.
There will most likely be lawsuits over this. Don't count on privacy winning.