What New Bill Means for Internet Privacy

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UNITED STATES  --  A new bill passed in the House is opening the doors for internet providers to put users' information and browsing history up for sale.

Proponents say it's good for business, but those against it say it's bad for privacy, as CNN's Scott McLean reports.

Giants like Facebook and Google already collect profile information and search history, and use it to sell advertisements that match people's interests.

Now, the House-passed bill paves the way for internet providers to sell users' web browsing history.

Privacy expert Peter Swire says companies like Comcast or Verizon will now compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars by selling what they know about users.

"It's really hard to hide online unless you take strong technical measures," said Swire.

This is because there is no reliable way to opt out of being tracked.

Users can tell internet companies they do not want to be tracked, but as Swire says, "The broadband providers don't have to honor your request about how your information is handled,"

He recommends using pop-up blockers, anti-tracking software like Tor or Privacy Badger, and a virtual private network, but even VPNs can sell you out to advertisers.

The simple solution is finding an internet provider that wont sell your data, but even that isn't so easy.

"In a lot of neighborhoods there's only one ISP--internet service provider-- and so when there's no choice, there's no way for the consumer to vote with his or her feet," said Swire.

Users can try to run, but it won't be easy to hide.


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