Internet and Web

Your internet connection, web sites and services.

Is my search data safe?

Episode 1377

Lucille from Chicago, IL
Google Search

Lucille is worried that the government will be able to look into our search history. Leo says that ISPs will be able to sell our history, but they will hold onto it, not the federal government. But let's face it, if they want it, they can get it.

Your ISP knows all of your data. But Google is responding to this by encrypting everyone's search history, so no one can see it. The data could be sold off, but it wouldn't be usable then. What isn't encrypted, they'll be able to not only read, but sell.

Could browser history be used to prove a student attended class?

Episode 1377

Deborah from California
Browsers

Deborah knows that when you log into website, it gets logged somewhere. Leo says it's in the browser history. Deborah is wondering if her daughter could use that information to prove that she attended a class that her professor is claiming she was not there for. Leo says the browser history would only prove that she was on that specific site, which she could have been on from home. Deborah says that if it keeps track of when the site was refreshed, the timing of that refresh could prove that she was there.

Is buying a laptop from eBay safe?

Episode 1377

George from Maine
Laptop

George bought a laptop from someone online and there's a problem with it, and he can't set it up. He bought it on eBay. Leo says it's likely that George doesn't have much recourse here. He simply can't trust that the laptop is safe.

Leo recommends immediately wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Windows. He can't even trust the recovery partition, either. Chances are, reinstalling from the recovery partition will be fine, but he'll never really know for sure. He should completely wipe the drive. eBay should protect him though, and Leo would advise returning it.

Can I use the same password for websites?

Episode 1377

Caleb from San Diego, CA
Password

Caleb wants to know if it's safe to use the same password across different web accounts. Leo says no, because once one site gets hacked, they can use that password information to guess the passwords for other sites. Many do this, and it's how the Turkish Crime Family was able to hack over a million iCloud accounts. Password vaults make different passwords for every site and you have only one password to open the vault. But that's not on the internet anywhere, he'd just remember that. It's much safer that way.

How can I keep my ISP from seeing my data?

Episode 1376

Oak from Cazadero, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

Oak is concerned about congress repealing ISP privacy protections. Is there a way he can hide his activity from his ISP so they can't have access to his data? Leo says he could use a VPN to scramble his traffic, but he'll only be giving that data out in the open to his VPN. Leo uses Hotspot VPN. Tunnel Bear is very well known as well. Oak should remember that it will slow him down a lot, and may prevent him from streaming.

What is Patreon?

Episode 1376

Richard from Elk Grove, CA
Patreon

Richard wants to know about Patreon. Leo says that Patreon is a great site for raising money for podcasting, video web series, and all other kinds of media content that viewers are willing to support. It's optional for the consumers, and Patreon takes a cut of the donations.

The challenge is that it's easy to overestimate the incoming amount of donations of supporters, as they are always canceling and re-upping. So if Richard is thinking of using Patreon, he should be very realistic about how much he can make with it.

ISPs Promise That User Data Is Safe in Spite of New Privacy Rules

Episode 1376

URL

It may not be an April Fool's Joke, but it sounds like one. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have moved to assure customers that while Congress has officially passed a law stripping privacy protections from internet users, their data will not be sold and they won't be spying on customers. This begs the question — why did they need the law passed in the first place?