Sunday, April 23, 2017

Private Browsing For Private Profit?

One of the many crimes against democracy that Donald Trump has distracted us from with his foreign policy MO -"speak loudly and carry a really big stick" - was his signature of a new law that allows Internet service providers to sell people's private online information - including our Internet browsing histories - to various companies, so that we can be advertised to more easily than we already are.  The new law got reported, then the media went on to other things so you'd forget about it, because, hey, some Internet service providers are owned by the same companies that own broadcast media outlets (I ain't namin' names).
"Your Internet data belongs to you, and nobody else," Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) told his constituents in an e-mail.  "But it’s clear the Trump Administration favors corporations over your right to privacy. We must fight back."
Yeah?  How?
Senator Booker's suggestion was to sign a petition of his (which I did) and contribute to his campaign fund (which I didn't).  But it's clear that we as Americans need to find a way to make it unprofitable for Internet service providers to sell our browsing information.  Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who voted for the legislation, suggested that we simply stop using the Internet, which is roughly the equivalent of living in Phoenix and choosing not to drive.
We can't avoid the Internet entirely.  So here's what I propose what you can do to frustrate your Internet service provider when it wants to sell your browsing information.
First, try to browse as many sites with little commercial value as possible in addition to commonly visited commercial sites you yourself may visit regularly.  Browse Web sites for historical societies, for example.  After all, there's no money in history - not much of a future in the past.  You don't have to browse them exclusively, just enough to get them thoroughly in the mix of your browsing history.  And read, really read the content on historical-society sites, don't just click on them and move on - because you just might learn something.
Second, abstain from buying anything online, because that's what Internet service providers look for the most.  Consider, oh, I don't know, buying things in brick-and-mortar stores - live, in person!  Just buy something online if you can't find it anywhere in stores.  And if you do buy something that's not widely available in stores, your browsing information will only reveal that you buy unpopular products, and who's going to make money off that?     
And now for the fun part.
Third, browse commercial sites that are completely and utterly useless to advertisers.  Like this one!

Go out with a professional clown? Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it! :-D
Fourth, type in URLs for non-existent Web sites.  Or click on this link a couple dozen times a day, as it links to absolutely nothing but this:
Here are some more made-up URLs to click on.  How about this one?
And, for good measure, how about this one? 
Remember, whether you click on these links or enter your own made-up URLs, do it over and over so your Internet service provider will leave your history alone and bother someone else.
Finally, if you really want to visit a useless site that your Internet service provider can't make a dime off . . . well, there's always this blog.
Now, if you'll excuse me I have, a date.  Green hair, auguste-style face, red nose, makes balloon art and bakes a mean custard pie . . . could be the one. ;-)   

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