Is Online Privacy Dead?

OK folks. A question we are regularly asked is "Do I really need a VPN for my general home or business use?". Well if you care at all about online privacy, the answer is yes.

Fun Fact: Data retention laws were passed back in 2015 and saw the Federal Government compel all telecommunications companies and internet service providers to keep consistent and reliable data on their customers for a minimum of two years.

Now, to put that into perspective, have a think over the past two years of your life...

Every waking moment of your life leaves some sort of digital trail(unless you are actively protecting yourself). This trail is stored. Whether you're searching Google for some dubious websites(sure, I know you didn't) or simply going for your morning walk while listening to music on your mobile phone, this data when analysed can pin-point your day-to-day activities, personal information and your location(even if you turn location services off - more on that later).

Every time you connect to the internet, your IP(internet address) gives away your physical location. Every time you open a website, information stored about you like your name and address are given away. Here is a simple diagram about how the internet works WITHOUT a VPN:

If you care about privacy at all, then a VPN is the best starting point to protect yourself and secure your home and especially business from unwanted attacks. Without getting too technical, a VPN essentially interrupts the flow of data shown in the above diagram. Hence, safeguarding your data from ending up in unwanted hands such as hackers.

This is how the internet works WITH a VPN:

So, which VPN in Australia should you get? There are so many options, that our clients generally ask us to pick one and manage their online privacy and security for them. Here is a short list of VPN's we have used and recommend which all provide good value, good speed, worldwide servers and are simple to use.

 1. ExpressVPN

2. NordVPN

3. Avast

An added benefit of using a VPN is that it can get you around geo-blocking restrictions. Companies like Netflix and Amazon block certain content to Australian viewers. If you use a VPN, you can connect to a server in the US, UK, etc while being physically in Australia, and Netflix, Amazon will treat you as if you were viewing from US, UK, etc.

Now, to finish up, and a little off-topic, remember how we mentioned above that your beloved mobile phone is tracking you, even if you turn off location services?

Well, whenever you have your mobile phone with you, you can assume that your footprints can be traced every minute of the day. The way that the mobile network works is by using three mobile towers to triangulate your position to enable phone calls etc to be made. This location information is updated AND STORED every few seconds, indefinitely. Let that soak in for a while...

For the average person, it is impossible and pointless to even attempt to attain complete online privacy, however a VPN is your best entry-level safeguard against general unwanted online intruders.


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