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The role of VPN usage in the brave new internet 
 
      2018-04-30


Norwegian translation by Lars Olden

The popularity of VPN usage is growing in a constant pace. In fact, this piece of software
that was once used by "high tech people" and experts is now a commonplace go-to for all
sorts of users. If you're in China and want to WhatsApp your friends back home, you revert
to VPN. If you are in Russia and want access to non-censored content, you use a VPN. If
you want to download certain files anonymously, you… double click on the HMA! logo on
your desktop. From occasional use to permanent use, there are reportedly hundreds of
millions of people across the world who choose to use a VPN.

Some of the uses for a VPN are not the ones I encourage. If someone is masking his IP
through a VPN because he commits whichever cybercrimes, that's wrong. If someone is
using hacked materials that breach copyrights and stay on the down-low through his VPN,
that is something I would often condemn that. Some of the potential uses of a VPN are positive,
though, at least in my book.

With the end of Net Neutrality era, no one can really feel too safe over the internet. If your
government is in preference of commercial bodies over citizens, you cannot accept them to
do anything but protect themselves. A VPN is a way to protect yourself from several things,
for a very cheap price. Here are some of the risks eliminated or mitigated by usage of a VPN product:

a.    Government espionage – sources like WikiLeaks and others have already revealed countless time that governments are monitoring civilian activities on a personal basis and without limitations. I do not want people to hear my private calls or see my private pictures that I upload or download from the internet, even if they are wearing a badge.

b.    Company espionage – with the recent fiasco of Cambridge Analytica it is even clearer to us that commercial tech giants have little to no regard to their users. Hence, the best possible situation is to provide as little information as possible to them. A VPN masking your whereabouts and obstructing them from profiling you.

c.    Hackers – if you are using a VPN you are reducing the chance of your data leaking and an unauthorized person stealing it.

There are a lot of additional tools and more importantly, a lot of rules to follow, to protect yourself and your family online, but VPN usage can be one of them. Don't listen to the stigmas about VPNs and consider using one yourself. It is a very worthwhile offer which costs less than $40 annually.

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About This Blog...

I've been writing about computers, software, Internet and the rest of technology since 1992, including a 17 year (1995-2012) stint as 'High Tech Office' columnist for Business in Vancouver. This blog includes thoughts on technology, society, and anything else that might interest me. Comments, emailed to alan@zisman.ca are welcome - and may be published in whole or part. You can follow me on Twitter or Google + for notice of new blog postings.
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