Do ISPs Track and Sell Your Browsing Data?

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) keep a record and monitor all your online activities. It includes the websites you visit, the videos you watch, and your overall browsing history. Knowing that ISPs keep tabs on your online activities can be daunting and make users feel they’re compromising their privacy. ISPs can track and monitor your data, even if you’re in Incognito Mode.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why ISPs track your browsing activities in the first place and how you can use VPNs and other preventative measures to stop them and preserve your privacy. So without any further ado, let’s begin!

Why Do ISPs Track My Online Activities?

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) track your data for various purposes, including technical, legal, and business. Here’s a detailed reasoning of why ISPs track your online activities:

1) Calculating Bills & Monitoring Usage

Tracking your online activities enables the ISPs to determine precisely how much internet you use and calculate the bill. It includes monitoring data consumption, the number of devices connected to a network, and the different services you use, such as streaming, gaming, and online browsing. These ensure that you are charged accurately for what you’re using.

2) Censorship

Governments offer restricted access to certain content and websites for various reasons, most likely when it goes against the country’s political ideologies or religious beliefs. Governments often use ISPs to implement this censorship. Since ISPs can directly see which websites you’re accessing, they can block those websites that the government directed to be blocked.

3) Security & Troubleshooting

ISPs monitor your online activities to identify potential security threats. They can check for suspicious behavior, malware, or phishing scams to protect users and their network infrastructure. If you come up with any technical issues, then your ISP can help determine the root of the problem and resolve it by tracking your online activities.

4) Data Retention Laws

Some countries have mandatory data retention laws that state that the ISPs must track and record specific user data. It includes anything from the websites you visit, your emails, and your location information. This information can be used for various reasons, including legal grounds. Tracking user data may be essential to comply with court orders or law enforcement requests.

5) Marketing & Advertising

ISPs often track and analyze your online activities to deliver targeted advertisements. Following your online activities gives them an idea of finding your likes, interests, and habits; this information helps them provide relevant ads to advertisers, ultimately garnering more ISP revenue.

6) Network Management

ISPs have to manage and optimize their network infrastructure to ensure a seamless experience for users. Monitoring your online activities helps them identify network congestion, times when usage is highest, and areas where improvements are needed to enhance service quality.

Do ISPs Sell Your Data?

Whether or not your Internet Service Provider sells your data depends on location. If you’re a part of the European Union, you have nothing to worry about. However, in the United States, it is an entirely different story. Congress passed a rule in 2017 that allowed ISPs to sell online customer data to advertisers.

In general, ISPs can share and collect certain types of data. However, the extent and nature depend on each ISP’s regulatory and legal frameworks and specific privacy policies. If you’re concerned with handling and using your data, you can contact them directly and seek information regarding their data collection practices. Here’s how ISPs handle user data:

  • ISPs collect your personal data for billing and account management purposes and share it with advertisers for marketing purposes.
  • ISPs may also track your browsing history and online activities for marketing purposes.
  • ISPs can collect data on your online behavior to build demographic profiles and for user segmentation.
  • ISPs can track your search queries and any links you click, as they can reveal your interests and preferences. Advertisers can use the data to deliver relevant ads and improve search engine performance.
  • ISPs also collect information on your location through your IP address and other techniques. The data can get used for location-based services.
  • ISPs may access your communications’ content, such as emails and messages. ISPs may have to share such personal information due to legal requirements or agreements with law enforcement agencies.

Preventative Measures To Stop ISP Tracking

You can use several methods to prevent ISPs from tracking and selling your data. These are as follows:

1) Use A VPN

If you’re concerned about ISPs using your personal information, geographical location, and other sensitive data, then hide your browsing history from ISPs through VPNs

VPNs mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, protecting it from the prying eyes of ISPs. When your data gets routed through a secure encrypted tunnel, the VPN ensures that your data cannot be deciphered by the ISP, malicious actors, and other third parties.

2) Use Websites With HTTPS Encryption

Access websites that have enabled HTTPS Encryption. It ensures that the data exchanged between your computer device and the website is encrypted. Once your data is encrypted, no third party or ISP can intercept your data.

3) Use Tor Browser

Go for search engines that prioritize user privacy and don’t track your browsing history. A great example is the Tor Browser. It is an encrypted browser that takes your personal data through several different servers worldwide to conceal information from your ISP.

The Tor Browser only encrypts data transmitted while using the browser specifically. It does not protect your data from being tracked by ISPs if you’re using other applications.

4) Educating Users

Users need to be educated on the best security practices, constantly stay informed about digital privacy, and be cautious about what information they share online. Users should remember what permissions they’re granting to apps and other online services. They must know the best security measures to ensure ISPs and other third parties can’t track or monitor their data easily.

5) Securing Devices

Using strong and unique passwords for all devices and accounts can help protect your data from being compromised by third parties and ISPs. Strong passwords include uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also enable two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of protection.


Internet Service Providers are notorious for tracking your data and selling it in some cases. ISPs track your data for various purposes, sometimes for advertising, marketing, and others, because it is legally required.

Whatever the reason, it’s good to prepare yourself and prevent ISPs and other third parties from monitoring or tracking your confidential information.

It starts from gaining awareness of the best security practices to safeguard your data and then implementing the most effective preventative measures to ensure your data isn’t getting tracked and you can surf the web anonymously.

We hope this guide gave you insight into why ISPs track your data and what measures you can implement to protect your data from prying eyes.

Dharmesh is Co-Founder of TechnoFizi and a passionate blogger. He loves new Gadgets and Tools. He generally covers Tech Tricks, Gadget Reviews etc in his posts. Beside this, He also work as a SEO Analyst at TechnoFizi Solutions.


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