Router

As the internet has become an indispensable need for users today, routers are at every user’s home. An internet router is one of the required and utilitarian devices that makes the internet accessible. 

When you use a router for accessing the internet, your entire web activity goes through it. And there are people, on the other hand, ready to capture it. Sometimes, they are also prepared to monetize it or interrupt it.

So, you cannot stop using the internet; you cannot exclude the router from the network; you cannot stop the information from passing through the router. What is the solution here?

Does your internet router collect data?

Yes, the internet router collects data daily, no matter which brand it is. The router is designed to collect and store information to be used for website optimization, marketing, and analysis purposes.

Big brands like Netgear, TP-Link, Asus, D-Link, etc., capture user data for marketing purposes. Some of the prime aspects that these brands collect are location data, websites visited, and other personal data identifiers.

While this may not seem like a big issue, the concern lies in the fact that the router companies can share this data with third parties. Your Internet Service Provider is one such entity that has access to your router and all the data passing through it. And in some countries, these companies can share or sell information about their users. Furthermore, there might be limited options for disabling such practices. 

All the brands listed above share user data with third parties. Some claim that those third parties are in-house. It means that they have control over the fact that they do not use it unethically. However, some may share the data with unassociated third parties. These parties can use your data in questionable ways.

Do privacy policies help?

Whenever you install software on your device, it pokes you to accept some of its terms and conditions. Though we don’t take much time to tap on the “I Agree,” it can become dangerous if you don’t read them carefully.

If we talk about the privacy policies of the routers, they are designed in a complicated way. These policies are lengthy to read and are written in a vague manner with no specifics. The minimum length of the privacy policy is around 2000 words which takes 10 minutes to read. But it will take you more time for sure. 

As they are tough to comprehend in one go, you may end up with more questions than answers. Some manufacturers have taken steps to improve their privacy policies by presenting them in a summarized form. But to understand it better, you must read the entire piece. So, privacy policies may not help you much.

How can you keep your data safe?

Now you know that routers collect your data and can be shared with third parties. Though no one can know who possesses their data, you can put some methods in place to keep your mind at ease.

Most router brands do not provide this feature; there are some that do. If you want to keep your data safe, you should opt-out of data sharing. When you disable this feature, the router will stop collecting data daily.

One way to minimize the information ISPs learn about you is to encrypt your internet traffic. It means that they won’t be able to read the details about your activities. The easiest way to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network. 

It is essentially a program allowing users to reroute their traffic through remote servers. Additionally, it masks IP addresses, which could serve to bypass certain geo-blocks. So, download VPN apps if you wish to keep your activities a secret, especially if your ISPs tend to throttle (slow down) connections.

Conclusion

Though your router collects data, you can take some steps to ensure your data is safe. One of the first steps is to look for ways to opt-out of having your data shared with third parties. It guarantees that fewer companies will receive information about users’ activities. The second option is to hide your activities. We suggest pairing a Virtual Private Network with incognito modes and privacy-focused browsers for the best results. 

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.