Internet providers could soon sell user search information

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Big internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and others may soon be able to profit from the private information its customers leave on the internet.

President Donald Trump has said he plans to sign the bill allowing providers to sell the possibly sensitive information.

Every search, every website, all the internet details of your life tracked by your internet provider could be sold to advertisers and other businesses.

Although Marlene Tai said she isn't concerned about her own information, but says "people should have more privacy."

"I think too much power and information to the wrong hands can be sued for things we don't approve of," she said.

Internet users are already getting advertisements they didn't ask for. Shop online for shoes and additional ads start popping up with in minutes.

Relaxing internet privacy rules would make tremendous amounts of other information available at a price.

"I think it is extremely valuable," said Jose Leon, who has decades of advertising experience, is president of LK Marketing Services.

"It is using new technology to do the same things we've always done." Leon explained.

The additional information would allow companies to zero in on the interests, wants, and needs of individuals.

Leon predicts consumers will benefit from increased competition and lower prices. Imagine browsing the internet for a minivan.

"There is now an opportunity for the company to make you an offering because they know you are shopping for at a reduced price, a savings, at an offering," Leon explained.

Whit Bones likes the thought of getting help when he goes shopping.

"I don't know all the places to look, I could get advertisements for outlets I'm not familiar with," he said.

Companies could also find out when people are researching information on medical ailments, divorce, bankruptcy and other deeply personal issues. Information can be hidden from outsiders, but that process can be complicated and somewhat costly. We found a couple of web sites to make it easier:

Electronic Frontier

Surveillance Self Defense

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