In recent years, there has been an ongoing debate about ISPs and how they are spying on anyone who uses the Internet through their computers. Since your Internet service provider, also known as your ISP, is your virtual mail carrier, it knows every address and everything that is sent or receives on your computer. This means that everything from your Internet browsing to your streaming services available for your ISP to see. Below you will find out some of the information you need to know about retaining your privacy from ISPs.
Who Retains What?
Below is a short list of some ISPs, what they retain, and how long they retain your information.
- Comcast has been rumored to hold onto IP addresses that have used Bittorrent for at least 180 days, though they have released no comment to that effect.
- Verizon retains information about IPs for 18 months.
- Quest/Century stores addresses for up to one year, maybe longer.
- Cox is said to keep logs of IP address for six months.
- Charter is said to keep address for up to a year.
This is a lot of time for an Internet service provider to be holding on to your information and many people and companies are screaming that it is an invasion of privacy.
How it Works
Once again, think of your ISP as a mail carrier that has all of your addresses, which leads you to the need for retaining your privacy from your ISPs. In order to make sure that you get your mail, your ISP has to have your IP, or Internet protocol address. Not only does the provider have your Internet address, it has the address of everyone that you are exchanging data packets with as well. This the minimum that your ISP is required to have in order to play postal worker.
Now, think of every packet as a registered letter that you are sending out through your mail carrier, your ISP in this case. Your ISP has who sent the package, who is receiving the package, and the number of packages sent between the two of you. The problem comes in when the ISP is holding on to your information. It is said that some ISPs are limiting access and types of content that people can use. This is an invasion of privacy and in many people’s and companies eyes, it needs to be stopped.
How Long Should Your Data be Kept?
The biggest question right now, is how long your data should be kept by your Internet service provider. The time that they should be able to keep your data varies according to the company and the country that the company is in. Included in this is usually the following:
- Text messages
- Phone calls
- And email
Many companies feel that they should be able to hold the information on your IP address for up to two years, in order to protect you. However, many other countries are outraged, because it is an invasion of privacy and should not be allowed. The debate is heated and doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime in the near future.
What Can You do to Retain Your Privacy?
Retaining your privacy from ISPs isn’t as hard as you might think. The easiest remedy to having your privacy invaded by your ISP is to have a VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, to run your devices through. A ZoogVPN creates a connection for you through a server that is secure. This creates a secure connection for everything from email to the web and beyond.
In short, it encrypts everything into a sort of a tunnel. In this way, it becomes impossible for your ISP to identify the mail and add custom headers, which is what they like to do, therefore allowing them to store your information.
These are just some of the privacy issues and problems with ISPs tracking and storing peoples information for varying lengths of time. There is hope out there as the debate rages on. You can get your own Virtual Private Network and be sure that you never have to worry about your private information being stored for any length of time again.