Cybersecurity Insight

What Is Your ISP Doing With Your Data?

30 Mar

In today’s digital world, “data” has quickly become a top buzz word. Many don’t realize that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is a data aggregator, collecting troves of data about each user online. ISPs and other companies collect enormous amounts of data, leading to the now-familiar term “Big Data”. Furthermore, said ISPs have been buying data analytics companies so they can analyze and use all the data they are collecting. But what’s the significance of “Big Data” and data collection? More importantly, do the pros outweigh the cons?

ISPs collect data on pretty much everything you do online. It’s gotten to the point that, if your ISP is also your television provider, they can match and combine your online and television data for marketing and advertising purposes. They know what websites you visit, what articles you read, where you shop, what apps you use, and what you watch on television. All of this information is like gold to marketers, giving them the ability to offer products to you with pinpoint accuracy all the while knowing your likelihood of purchasing the product is that much greater.

Now, for the user and company alike there are pros and cons to big data. On one hand users are well aware that they are consistently targeted by advertisements, so seeing products that are generally of interest to the consumer can be seen as a refreshing reprieve. However, there is a dark side to this as well. Cyber security is extremely important, especially when it comes to storing large amounts of data. In fact, for an ISP collecting all of this data, securing said data should be their highest priority and top concern. However, data breaches happen all the time to companies big and small. This means all of the data that has been collected about us can be stolen by someone who may wish to use it in not so appealing ways. They may also try to go after more critical information like credit card or bank information.

In the end, our personal data is everywhere, and protecting it should be a top priority. Individuals and companies alike using the Internet have hundreds of data points about them that are eventually used for marketing and other purposes. While this data collection can be harmless, the third parties such as ISPs that are collecting all this data are only one side of the cyber security spectrum when it comes to fully embracing the cyber security of a user or company at large.