How Long Do Internet Providers Keep History (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 Months

When utilising the internet, consumers adopt a variety of privacy safeguards. Despite this, keeping your internet provider fully unaware of your online activities is difficult. An internet provider doesn’t really sit beside a desk monitoring every click you perform every time you use the internet. However, they do keep track of your browsing history. Varied countries’ internet service providers preserve browsing records for different amounts of time.

Many internet service providers keep this information for at least six months, if not years. While you won’t be able to browse the internet completely without the assistance of your wifi supplier, you can take action to prevent them from viewing your browsing history. However, doing so may restrict them from using or sharing your information for commercial purposes or with govt. agencies.

How Long Do Internet Providers Keep History

How Long Do Internet Providers Keep History? 

TimeDuration
Minimum6 Months
Maximum10-12 Months

Many internet service providers have varied motives for keeping people’s surfing records for an extended period of time. Your surfing history might be a source of money for some wireless providers. They can, for example, sell your information to companies who pay them in cash. Because your search history contains all of this data, the wifi provider ends up profiting from your online actions.

Governments also employ internet service providers to get data on particular individuals. Internet users’ online activity can be monitored to help authorities catch persons who are involved in unlawful acts, such as terrorists. Specific entities, such as the Department of Justice, have the authority to request your ISP’s surfing data.

Although your laptop’s surfing history cannot be viewed directly, most browsers provide a sync function that allows you to share your browsing history between your computer and your smartphone. All of this data is saved on the ISP’s server and is freely accessible.

There is no federal law that specifies how long internet service providers must preserve people’s surfing records. As a result, internet service providers in various nations choose how long they want to keep people’s browsing records. ISPs save people’s surfing histories for at least six months in most circumstances.

However, if a person is under investigation by law enforcement and is fleeing, the internet service provider can keep their browser data for longer to assist the police in catching them. In the United States, internet service providers keep emails for a few years. Even though you erase the emails yourself, they may remain on the ISP’s servers for years.

Why Do Internet Providers Keep History For That Long? 

It’s not unreasonable to believe that your internet service provider keeps track of your browser history and benefits from it. The truth is that these companies can track whatever you are doing on the web, including the websites you visit, how long you stay on them, the material you watch, and your physical region.

Your Internet service provider (ISP) keeps track of your clicks for a variety of reasons. Your browsing history is a source of money for them. Many Internet service providers compile anonymous browsing data and sell them to marketing firms.  Some Internet companies are even considering making privacy a paid add-on, utilising your Internet search history to advertise to you in the same manner that websites do unless you spend a monthly charge.

Furthermore, outside organisations, such as the police dept or another government body, may have access to the information your ISP collects. Your ISP is legally obligated to give whatever data they had upon you if you are served with a subpoena.

Your Internet service provider maintains track of the websites you visit and the things you download. Every ISP has a privacy policy that explains how customer information is used, stored, and protected. Your ISP may just be able to see the web addresses of websites you visit, or they could be able to view the complete URL, relying on how the website is secured. 

Because most ISPs vow to keep your information private, no one is actively looking over your online history. They must, though, cooperate with law enforcement if they are asked for official records. ISP logs, for example, have been used to prosecute online piracy in the past.

Conclusion

As data breaches continue to be published on a daily basis, many web users are taking online security more seriously. Even if you constantly delete your search history, there’s a good possibility it’ll end up somewhere else, especially if you don’t use systems like VPN. 

If you do not use such connections, your internet service provider can easily verify your surfing history. It has the ability to save your browsing history for a long period. Because each wifi provider has its own policy, the length of time that ISPs keep people’s history varies. The majority of ISPs keep their customers’ surfing records for six months or even years.

References

  1. https://arxiv.org/abs/1208.3557
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=235284
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389128601001888
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