We all want online privacy. Well, the truth is that not everybody is aware of the advantages and benefits of data protection, but it is a concept that is increasing in prominence and importance as we speak.
The most obvious way to track people online is by their IP (Internet Protocol) address. It is a number assigned to every connection interacting in the web, and it can be visible to everyone in the same network. The fact that it is so public derives in privacy issues.
As a user, it is not convenient for you to be public online, for a variety of reasons. First, if you live in a country in which censorship is a common occurrence, then you won’t be able to enjoy the Internet as you should because various interesting sites would be blocked. Freedom of speech is a rare proposition in some locations, but finding the way to browse anonymously would be of great help to solve that issue.
Overcoming geo-blocking measures
Secondly, if international streaming services and sites recognize your connection as a foreign one, you won’t be able to enter them. Geo-blocking restrictions occur because web pages and platforms are configured or destined, whether it is for financial, licensing or location reasons, to broadcast content for the specific areas in which they function.
If you don’t surf the web privately, online stores and shops will have enough information available about you to build a customer profile, containing your most frequently visited websites, location, and other details. You will feel that your privacy is violated when you see online ads personalized for you, based on your browsing history.
Protect your assets
Also, if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) were to keep logs of your online activity – and most, if not all, of them, so – they would have valuable information that can be used against you. We are not saying that you are using the web for bad things or to engage in criminal activity (at least we hope you are not!) but your ISP may hold data and connection logs and cooperate with authorities without much hesitation in the event of a subpoena or an ongoing investigation.
Now you understand why it is so crucial to browse the web privately and anonymously? Hackers can get to your data assets and have a field day with them: they are prepared to steal your passwords and credit card numbers with an astounding quickness. They just need a few elements of your connection. It is better to stay anonymous and avoid contact with them, isn’t it?
How could you achieve the perfect mix of privacy and anonymity, while still being able to access most websites in the world? Sure, you could use a proxy or a Smart DNS server, and they have their pros and cons. However, the best online tool for encryption is establishing a Virtual Private Network.
VPN: the magic of privacy and anonymity
Virtual Private Networks, or VPN as it is often shortened, are online encryption tools that make sure to protect your data, IP address, and other details about your connection from the possible advances of third-parties and external agents online.
VPNs can provide users with privacy and anonymity since they hide the customer’s IP address and generated content online so no one can see the browsing history or assigned number in the web environment. If hackers can’t track you, the chances of them inflicting any kind of harm are minimized.
If these external agents can’t see you, you will gain peace of mind. Suppose you are not doing anything shady or wrong online, but what about this scenario? Your neighbor is stealing your Wi-Fi connection and is setting up a prostitution website. The authorities notice what is going on and will try to stop the network immediately and begin further investigations and legal actions. Guess whose door they will knock first?
VPN technology creates a virtual, computer-generated tunnel in which your data, traffic, IP address, browsing history, and other connection details will safely travel to remote servers, away from prying eyes. It uses encryption protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
Private Internet Access: affordable encryption for everyone
The market offers numerous VPN brands and companies to set up your own encryption network. Some of them are paid, some of them are free. The problem with the latter option is that online privacy isn’t guaranteed by any means since these companies say they won’t keep logs of your data and they not only do, but they also sell it to the highest bidder.
That is why you need to select a paid brand for your online security needs. Most of them will keep no logs of your online activity and will offer you additional security measures, such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and, sometimes, split tunneling.
One of the best VPN brands in the industry is Private Internet Access. Often abbreviated to PIA, it offers robust encryption – with the military-grade AES 256-bit method – and exciting features at a very reasonable cost. While most of the top VPN alternatives cost at least $10 – some of them go as high as $13 or $15 – PIA checks in at $6.95. The best part is that, if you choose the two-year plan, you will end up paying just $69.95, or the equivalent of $2.91 per month!
PIA protects your privacy and identity by letting you browse the web with a hidden IP. It also unblocks censorship filters and connects you through one of their more than 3,000 VPN servers in a matter of seconds.
Among PIA’s features, you have a secure VPN account, encrypted WiFi, P2P support, PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec, availability for connecting five simultaneous devices, ad and malware block and trackers, multiple VPN gateways, unlimited bandwidth, SOCKS5 Proxy included, and no traffic logs. It can be easily installed and used.
As for availability of servers, Private Internet Access has exactly 3,041 in 28 countries. The amount of servers is a strong point of this brand, and while the number of nations may be a tad low, users don’t complain.
Does Private Internet Access keep logs of your activity?
The company claims to keep no logs of users’ activity when they are connected to the Internet, and so far there hasn’t been clear evidence to the contrary. The brand does not keep a warrant canary, but they state that it can be “like a fire alarm going off:” they don’t need a reminder that they haven’t been approached by authorities to hand over logs because they don’t have anything to hand over.
“At Private Internet Access, we have designed our operations to prevent this from happening in the first place. There are no logs. There is no identifying information that can be collected, regardless of the amount of force applied. There are several companies who claim they don’t log but do anyway at the end of the day. In contrast, we have public court records that state (under threat of perjury) we don’t log anything,” says the company regarding the matter.
In conclusion, online privacy is a big deal these days, and users are starting to come around the idea. They don’t want anyone sniffing the content they generate when they go to the World Wide Web.
The best tools for online and data privacy are Virtual Private Networks, as they are resources that guarantee an almost 100% anonymous experience. The market is full of options and brands, but Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most reliable of the bunch.
PIA makes itself relevant in the VPN world by not keeping logs of their users’ activity online, thus guaranteeing online privacy in the process.