According to privacyonline, privacy breaches on various devices have been on the rise in recent years. The privacy issues on the web have been discussed far and wide over the last few decades. It seems that we are approaching dark times for the Internet since governments and third-party malicious organizations (read hackers) have shown interest in private internet data.
With Edward Snowden’s efforts facts that governments peek into their citizens’ devices have been revealed. Since then, internet monitoring programs made by many governments have been more and more transparent, and laws have been created that head in that direction. In some countries, an IP provider keeps track of all activity of all their users and they are obliged to share this meta-data with government corpus on request.
Why should I care about internet privacy?
Caring about privacy on the Internet can be seen as an individual preference, yes. There are, however, some facts and information that all of us should know before we decide for ourselves.
One of the things we need to know is that without proper measures, all our activity on the Internet can be seen by somebody else. Various websites collect data about their visitors and they withhold this information for themselves. The majority of the information is not that relevant, but it also includes our physical location, and other, similar, relevant information.
Second, internet providers keep track and store data on all our activities. They can see what sites we’ve visited, with who we communicate, etc. Some IPS need to submit this data on request by the government.
Third, big companies like Google and Facebook use data from our devices to tweak advertisements and other preferences online. Although it can be seen as convenient, there is an option that these big companies listen to our whole conversations in search of keywords, even when we are not aware of that.
Finally, malicious individuals and whole organizations deserve a special mention. There are various programs and apps, like viruses and trojans that can get into our devices and grant hackers access to the device as a whole. This includes data, cameras, and microphones. These people can literally spy on unknowing individuals as much as they want.
The ramifications of this are almost unlimited. They can access our private data, download it, publish it, share it, and even delete it. They can learn sensitive information, such as intimate information or credit card numbers, passport numbers, etc. In some instances, they can track our physical location.
How does a VPN help privacy?
A VPN service, or a Virtual Private Network, is an application that changes the way you access the Internet. Since all devices need an IP address to access the internet, a VPN service masks the real IP address and dedicates another, virtual IP address on the internet, as long as the connection in the app is running.
An IP address is a virtual address of your device which tells the website where to send the requested data. It goes something like this: [Your phone] Hey! Send the ‘Funny Dogs Compilation’ to Phone-elm-street-202044! [YouTube]: You got it, pal![adsense]
The IP address holds vital information that tells the internet who is requesting particular data. This includes the physical location of the device. So, every time you are on the Internet, anyone can figure out where you are.
But not with a VPN. A VPN provides a virtual IP address that masks your real IP address. You can even choose to get an address from a different country. Not even your Internet Provider can know about your activity with a VPN, lest to say, hackers and other unwanted visitors.