[Sponsored*] A VPN, or a virtual private network, is an application that ensures your privacy by routing your web traffic through a specific route. This hides your activities from outside entities, including hackers and spyware programs. Now, the government makes new rules on privacy and the use of information, using a VPN may become a necessity for everyone.
Initially, the FCC had set up a new regulation that would force your internet service provider to ask you to opt-in on their practice of collecting and selling your data. This wouldn’t have been much different than the way mobile apps must ask for your permission to access information on your phone.
While that sounds great and seems to make sense, that regulation was not passed into a law. Both the senate and the house voted the bill down and, while the president still has to make a final determination, he’s expected to go along with the decision made by congress.
Once the defeat of the FCC proposal was made public, tech bloggers and journalists began touting the importance of using a VPN. While using a VPN for Pirate Bay is already common sense, most people who don’t use torrent file sharing services also don’t bother with virtual private networks. The thinking for many is that they shouldn’t have to hide their activities, if they’re not doing anything unethical. However, tech experts are warning that everyone is at risk, following the new ruling. Anything that can be accessed can also be shared.
The thinking in recommending a VPN service is that, if it can’t be seen, it can’t be sold to advertisers. When you use a VPN service, your browsing data is encrypted and secured, before it leaves your computer. It’s not decrypted until it reaches the VPN’s sever, which may even be in another country altogether, and, from there, it continues on to its destination.
The advantage here is that your internet service provider, or ISP, can’t see what you’re really doing. It looks like you’re going to the same site all of the time, which will be useless in their ambition to sell your browsing data. Additionally, the information your sending to that VPN website is encrypted to appear like a series of random characters, so anyone viewing your activity won’t know what you’re sending or where it’s really going.
Even businesses have started using VPN services for the privacy they provide. Remote workers can access sensitive data from anywhere in the world and, because a VPN is in use, anyone observing their activities won’t be able to access it. This keeps data from falling into the wrong hands and enables businesses to operate on a global scale.
In other countries, VPN services help people access restricted content that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to view. In countries like South Korea, where there’s a great deal of emphasis on security and censorship, using a VPN means being able to view content that people in other countries take for granted. Whether in the U.S. or abroad, VPN services provide security that is no longer guaranteed, when accessing the internet.