We are living in times when we can do so much from the comfort of our homes. Only 20 years ago, people had to go to the bank every time they wanted to make a transfer. Buying things was only possible by going to a store, a physical one. Having a private conversation with someone on the other side of the world is now easy and free. We could be the whole day talking about things that we can do now thanks to the Internet!
Our point is that this convenience usually requires using (very) private info. For example, buying something online requires your bank account information, or Paypal, among others. In this case, both your banking info and the product you are buying should be private, only for yourself to know.
Have you ever stopped to wonder about your privacy?
More than often, we only think about our Internet Service Provider (ISP) when we need to pay the bill or when we have connectivity issues. But how much does your ISP actually knows about you? Will you be shocked to find out they actually know everything about you? Yes, it’s true, much similar to Google, your ISP knows and shares your information for marketing and other uses. You’d be surprised how much personal data you hand out to your ISP without the need to sign for any consent.
Why is your ISP tracking you and how far is too far?
Tracking doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is watching and monitoring every click you make. Actually, they are more interested in storing your browsing history somewhere on their system.
There are many reasons that explain why your ISP is tracking you. The most common one is to sell your browsing logs to marketing companies. Keep in mind that this kind of info is worth more than gold for such companies. Knowing what you are browsing gives them precious information. It shows them what you are interested in, what products are you searching for. They will know exactly which ads to send you.
The “storyline” goes even further, the police department or another government agency can access the data collected by your ISP. A few years ago, a number of new laws started being approved. These acts and laws are making ISPs storing their user’s private data and handle it to authorities and governments in case they request it.
Why should you care?
Try to take a moment and think about every single important thing that you might have left on the Internet somewhere along the pages you visit. The things you buy online, the people that you talk to, the things you google. Scary right? All this information is somewhere out there waiting to be sold.
You might not be so much happy when your boss finds out you`ve searched for a new job. Or your health insurance company may find out that you’ve searched for some disease. Who knows, your family might be informed about stuff they would not like. There are many possible scenarios. In short, your personal data can be used against you and put you in a delicate position.
What can you do to protect your privacy?
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are one of the most commonly used ways to have an encrypted connection. Used by business when employees need to work remotely, you just log in from wherever you are and work just as secure as if you were in the office.
A few years ago, VPNs started to be popular to protect home computers and other devices as well. Nowadays, Internet users can encrypt and hide their online activity, in order to prevent ISPs from tracking them. The ISP knows that the user is connected to a VPN, but that’s it. The ISP can’t see beyond the VPN encryption. And the best thing is that a VPN is completely legal.
You just have to be careful with one detail. While a VPN allows you to hide your activity from your ISP, the VPN provider may keep your personal and sensitive information for themselves. You have to make sure that no one has access to your data but yourself.
That being said, the most important thing when choosing a VPN provider is to identify the ones that do not keep logs of your online activity. That way, no one knows what you are doing. Carefully read the VPN’s terms and conditions to make sure of that.
What sounded like a dream come true is now similar to a horror movie. Being constantly followed and tracked down was not part of the original plan called the Internet.
The Internet was not designed for big corporations to have even more power over people and make more profit. That’s why it’s worth to find solutions and ways of being anonymous, so that no one can see what we are doing, put us in vulnerable situations, and of course, profit from it.