Terrorism has driven many governments into self-defense mode, which often results in the most extreme policy decisions.
A recent example can be found in the Australian government, which just enacted a law that will mean the exact opposite of protection for its people.
It mandates that all internet service providers collect the metadata of their subscribers, the Australian public.
This expands the collection process to include simple names and addresses, as well as data from everyday communications including emails and messages from both the sender and recipient.
Perhaps more sensitive data is safe though, particularly website visits and actions within websites.
Still, this leaves people taking up new strategies to bypass such threats to their internet privacy, including virtual private networks (VPNs) as a possible answer.
VPNs Can Isolate the ISP
To the uninitiated, a VPN is an arrangement by which you can create your own network of existing systems and then connect to the incoming ISP provision.
You can subscribe to this network by downloading a suitable app from your VPN provider.
This ensures that whatever activities take place within your network are not shared with the ISP.
With this, there’s nothing of value they can capture and store in their records, as is now mandated.
While your metadata stays private, the ISP is not in defiance of any government regulation, since it can only pass on what it collects—and nothing beyond that.
An example can be found within a typical business organization, wherein all communications can be carried out within a VPN so that the business can ensure confidentiality is maintained and internet privacy is protected.
Data Encryption and VPNs
Encryption is another method VPNs use to stop your systems’ data from reaching the ISP.
In fact, most communication networks assure you of internet privacy only through data encryption.
The data created at your end is encrypted and then passed through the virtual highways until it reaches the legitimate recipient, where it is again de-encrypted and delivered in the original form.
Issues with VPNs
Skeptics question if VPNs are as reliable as they claim. Doubt often sets in when users notice a VPN is slowing their overall browsing speed, although VPN providers are taking steps to increase their bandwidths and scale up their server capacities to handle the recent uptick in sign-ups and traffic.
Is VPN + Tor a Better Alternative?
As a boosted way to ensure internet privacy, experts suggest a combination of VPN and Tor to provide you with an extra layer of security.
If you’re particularly concerned with the security of your personal data and your internet privacy, this combination might be worthy trying.
Tor is more known for its ability to keep your personal details anonymous, while VPN takes care of the encryption and keeping the data secure from being leaked into the system.
Unfortunately, Tor will further slow users’ browsing speed.
The Way It Works: Advantages and Drawbacks
The typical configuration for this setup has your computer at one end, a VPN connection, the Tor browser, and then finally the ISP.
It is to be understood that the ISP will not be able to detect that you are using Tor, though the VPN connection will be visible to them.
The flip side is that your VPN will know your IP address, and there are still doubts on the reliability of protection levels of internet traffic being routed through the Tor nodes.
But overall, it’s a useful tool for internet privacy, and users have started to take notice.