Australian ISPs are now officially required to record and collect all of their customers’ metadata, alongside the telecommunications companies, and this includes several types of information:
- Name, date of birth, address, email and any other information that could help identify the owner of an account.
- Communication details:
- The way of communicating (SMS, voice, email, forum, chats, social media)
- The exact location of the person on both start and also the end of the communication
- The address and as many details as possible about the receiver of the communication
- Specification of the used network (WiFi, ADSL, cable, VoIP, and alike)
ISPs aren’t obliged to record the details concerning the websites that the user visits, nor their actions on the said websites. Both the public and the media are confused by this last part of the legislation since there’s still talk about hiding online browsing, and now it appears that nobody’s even interested in such data.
What is even more surprising is that this kind of behavior is even partially practiced in the US as well. Their recent vote against privacy rules has legally allowed ISPs to sell user data, however, ISPs have shown an interest in maintaining their customer’s privacy.
The list of government departments that can access Australian user’s metadata is wide-ranging, and there are a lot of concerns and suggestions on how to protect their privacy. The main fear is that the information collected by ISP and telecommunication agencies can be used against the population since their lives and habits have become available to pretty much everyone inside the government. The most effective method of keeping privacy private, no matter where you are in the world, is a use of VPNs.
Even so, there are still certain risks involved, even when VPNs are in question. For example, a lot of trust needs to be put in the VPN providers and to believe that they are actually doing what they have promised. This is even harder considering a lot of faulty Android VPNs whose security issues have recently been discovered.
However, this problem can be easily solved by simply using one of the better-known VPN provider TorGuard, and its popularity has grown to extremely large proportions, they have actually put an effort into modifying their apps, and the result is a very easily operating system that provides the best possible protection for a small price.
One example of this is the new option to make VPN activate whenever the device is connected to the internet, which provides a constant protection. Even the applications like WhatsApp and Facetime would be encrypted and therefore hidden from ISPs, while without the use of VPN, ISP would not only record the conversation of people that are using Facetime but also their locations and length of conversation as well.
Still, tracking down the other person would be relatively difficult providing that they are not the customer of the same ISP.
VPNs are slowly becoming part of our regular internet use and can be found on every kind of device used for communication of any sort. They provide protection, privacy and even helps to unlock Geo-restrictions. And it’s believed that it is only a matter of time before the big companies like Google or Apple and others who are concerned about safety start making their own VPNs.