Your Internet Providers keep track of your online activities and are mandated to retain your history and other associated data for a while.
Let’s look at why your internet providers retain your history for that long!
The type of information your internet provider keeps from your history depends on the internet provider’s data retention laws and policy.
Usually, internet providers keep telecommunication data, tracking data, and website data. That is, your internet provider keeps a record of the websites you visit, their URLs, the duration of your visit, and the bandwidth used.
Some internet providers can even go ahead and keep a record of the details of the websites you visit. Generally, your internet providers can record all your online activities.
Other than data retention laws, the reasons for keeping your history vary from one internet provider to another. Here are the main reasons why they keep your history:
Your internet providers know nearly everything you do on the internet. This information is lucrative for businesses to other third parties, such as advertisers or anyone who wants to learn users’ preferences in a specific locale.
Thus, your history is a source of income for your internet provider. When selling this data to third parties, your history is aggregated into non-identifying data.
Other internet providers use this information to exploit their unsuspecting subscribers. This happens when internet providers offer packages such as secure internet or privacy add-ons to their subscribers at a fee to keep their internet safety.
Your internet provider is a good start for authorities such as the police when looking for a fugitive.
When authorities have a subpoena, internet providers work in conjunction with authorities by providing them with past and even recent data regarding the person of interest.
The history kept by your provider can help the police in profiling and even nabbing a fugitive.
Other authorities, such as those concerned with copyright infringements, also go to internet providers. This is how individuals who torrent pirated content get caught.
Other arms of the government also use data from internet providers to keep tabs on persons of interest and matters of national security.
Yes, there are several ways you can use to hide your history from your internet provider. However, you cannot hide some information, such as connection details that involve your IP addresses.
To hide your history, use privacy and security tools such as The Onion Router (Tor) and a VPN, and always ensure you use HTTPS on every website.
Check out our roundup of the best VPN providers if you want to pick a VPN.
This depends on your internet provider. Most internet providers don’t give out this kind of information. Even authorities need a subpoena from a court of law to get this information.
Nonetheless, check with your internet provider. They might have a different policy regarding their subscribers.
Legally, internet providers must delete your history after the stipulated period elapses.
However, this might not be the case. Even if they delete your data, you will have new data if you continue to use the service.
Also, some internet providers may keep your data longer depending on their storage and even the operational cost it covers, for instance, advertisements.
Due to the mandatory data retention laws enforced in many countries, internet service providers must keep your history for a specified time.
If you are a privacy-conscious individual, you can limit the information your internet provider gets from your history. This is by using a VPN anytime you surf the internet.
ISPs can keep a record of websites visited, URLs, duration of visits, and bandwidth used, among other things. ISPs retain this data for several reasons, such as for law enforcement, government surveillance, and as a source of income.
Users can hide their internet history from ISPs by using a VPN, Tor, and HTTPS. Although ISPs are legally required to delete user data after a certain period, some may keep it longer depending on storage capacity and operational costs.