Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?

There is no simple answer to the Internet privacy solution, but lately the news media has been kicking up a storm regarding the repeal of the Obama era privacy laws.

Lets take a look at what is going on in the realm of Internet privacy and I will give you some good options to protect yourself if you deem it necessary.

How many people did you say?

You are just 1 of 3,200,000,000. Yes you read that correctly there are over 3.2 billion people on the Internet across the entire world. You are just one bit in the world of terabytes upon terabytes of people. Does any one marketer care about you specifically, not exactly.  Most of the time your ISP and other Internet companies are compiling data in batches to analyze trends. Maybe count the number of Netflix subscribers, or the number of YouTube videos watched. However more recently we have been seeing increasingly targeted  campaigns at specific groups users. Is this a breach of your privacy?

Was the Obama law repealed?

Yes and no. The new FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring them to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements. However, the rules were never in effect. So basically we repealed a law that never happened anyway. Its business as usual. The controversy of the law stems from different standards for the ISP (like Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum etc) and other websites like Google and Facebook. In other words the law would force the Verizon and others to obtain consumer permissions to track and sites like Google would not need consent giving them an unfair advantage.

Why should we care?

You Internet provider weather it be the cable company, mobile phone company or another provider is your gateway to the Internet. Everything you do online funnels through their routers.

“Your broadband provider knows deeply personal information about you and your family – where you are, what you want to know, every site you visit, and more,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. They can even track you when you’re surfing in a private browsing mode. You deserve to be able to insist that those intimate details be kept private and secure.”

If you are searching for a cure for cancer, or just researching the best new car your ISP knows, and may target advertisements based on this information.  They may even sell the information gathered to a third party. The real question is, do you care? Google is already reading all of our Gmail and I’m sure AOL and Yahoo are doing the same too.

What can we do to stay hidden?

The simplest answer is subscribe to a VPN service. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is best described as endpoint to endpoint encryption.  Currently I use a service called PURE VPN   and they have proven to be 100% reliable and have done a great job protecting all my devices.

How does it work?

You install a small application on all your devices (PC, phone, tablet ETC) when you want to become anonymous simply activate the VPN service. The service will allow you to select an endpoint from a list of countries and locations throughout the world. Once selected all the Internet traffic coming from your computer is scrambled up (encrypted) and sent to the VPN server.

Since the traffic is encrypted your ISP can not see the websites you are requesting or anything for that matter. All they can monitor is the fact you opened an encrypted VPN tunnel to some location on Earth. As an added bonus the websites on the other side of your request see the VPN servers as requesting the information, hiding your IP address from prying eyes!

You can do this simple test

With VPN turned OFF google for "my ip address":
Google returns your REAL public ip address.

With PURE VPN turned ON do the same google search
Google returns the VPN public ip address keeping you hidden.

A good VPN service is NOT FREE, and does not log your traffic. This is important in case you every have issues with law enforcement they will be unable to subpoena traffic information from the VPN service. Its even better to use a service that is not based in your country. PURE VPN is based in Japan.

A second good anonymizing tool is Tor. In a post coming soon I will explain how Tor works and how it can keep your Internet activities private.

I am a paying customer of Pure VPN for about 2 years now and couldn’t be happier with their service. For one fee they will allow you to connect up to 5 devices. Please use this link if you are considering subscribing – PURE VPN

Thanks for reading

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