When it comes to protecting your data, it’s highly likely that you’re not doing enough. The following will explore a few good reasons to consider getting a VPN as part of your data protection and personal privacy measures.
What’s A VPN?
VPN stands for the virtual private network. While that sounds fancy and high-tech, it’s actually very simple. A VPN masks the IP address of the device you’re using, encrypting your data and filtering it through servers in different locations. This process is designed to protect your online identity, and it works; when browsing the internet with a VPN, you are anonymous to anyone watching your activity for any reason.
Who Needs A VPN?
In short, everyone needs a VPN. Data is now more valuable than oil. Companies and governments alike are on the hunt to gather as much data as humanly possible, and giving up data is becoming increasingly normalized. Even in your sleep, your phone might be sending data updates overnight. One study found an iPhone sent data to twelve different firms in a night.
1. Ease Of Use
First and foremost, when reading the remaining reasons to get a VPN, keep in mind that this process is very easy to do. It sounds like a complicated, high-tech thing, but it’s really easy. You can spend five minutes online searching something like: how to use a PrivateVPN with FireStick, and you’ll have step-by-step instructions laid out for you. Typically the process involves choosing a provider, downloading a package or application, and then choosing a server location.
2. Protection When Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi can be a real lifesaver sometimes. This being said, using a public Wi-Fi account is probably one of the riskier activities people commit on a regular basis. It’s incredibly easy to track someone’s online activity if you’re sharing Wi-Fi with them. If you have a VPN, you’re protected when using public Wi-Fi. This can help keep your browsing history, account passwords, and banking information safe.
3. Protection From Your Government
While many online applications and data gathering companies insist they don’t sell browsing data to governments, consistently, this information is ending up in government hands. Back in 2013, Edward Snowden proved that Verizon was selling its users’ phone and online activity data to the NSA. While laws designed to protect citizen privacy online are developing, lawmakers are nowhere near pleased with the state of privacy protection. Third-party data brokers are buying from companies that gather data and selling to governments. It is particularly concerning that this data is being used by political parties to sway elections.
4. Protection From Your Internet Provider
When you’re at home and connected to your own Wi-Fi, you’re far less likely to be dealing with strangers trying to attack your devices and mine your data. This being said, your internet service provider can access all your internet data. They are able to see what you’re browsing at what times and how you’re finding those sites. This information can then be packaged and sold to advertisers regardless of whether you’ve entered into a “private” browsing session.
5. Protection From Applications
Another cause for concern is the data being gathered by applications you use. Companies like Facebook can access your private information through the application but also sometimes outside of the application. VPNs can prevent these applications from linking your online activity to your IP address and help reduce the collection of your browser history and location data. In many instances, you’ve agreed to share your data when you sign an application’s terms and conditions.
6. Access To More Content
Given that a VPN can alter the perceived location of your device, you can allow websites and applications to believe that you’re in another location. Websites like Netflix, for instance, have different media deals in different countries, meaning some shows and movies are visible only within certain locations. A VPN will allow you to quickly change your location if you want to watch content that is unavailable in your area.
It’s important to note that VPNs protect you from data taken without your consent, but they do allow you to give away your own data by choice. This means that when you take an online quiz, for instance, the information you enter is given to the quiz provider (you know most online quizzes are data-gathering schemes, right?). Likewise, if you post something on a social media site or enable cookies, some data will be shared. Ideally, you should be monitoring your data sharing choices in addition to using a VPN.
The above information should have outlined several protective benefits a VPN can offer. Data security is a legitimate concern in this era. The sooner you learn to protect yourself, the better.
Featured Photo: Pixabay (iAmMrRob) feat. Nikin.