Nothing on the internet is free.
That “free” game your kids play, your “free” music streaming subscription and your “free” social media account are all paid for by advertising. Digital advertising in 2017 is highly targeted. Ads are only shown to pre-qualified consumers.
If a service is free, some of your personal data is likely being collected and sold to subsidize the cost of the service.
This is also true of VPNs.
What is a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks enable users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network.
Interest in VPNs have skyrocketed ever since President Trump announced interest in signing a bill to roll back Obama-era internet privacy regulations aimed at Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
On Monday, President Trump signed that bill into law.
It scraps a Federal Communications Commission online privacy regulation issued in October 2016 to give consumers control over how ISPs collect and share consumer data. The regulation was scheduled to take effect later this year, according to the Associated Press.
With that protection now gone, the average internet user is looking for VPN providers to protect their privacy and anonymity while online.
VPN Recommendations Start with Research
There are many reasons to use a VPN. Buffalo Tech Consulting advises potential VPN users to evaluate their own browsing use and conduct their own research before selecting a VPN provider.
Here are some resources to jumpstart your research.
- The 10 best VPN services 2017 (via Tech Radar)
- Best VPN Services for 2017 (via Tech Support Alert)
- The 6 Best VPN Services of 2017 (via VPN Service Point)
Forget About Free
Do not install a free VPN and expect any extra privacy or security. Most free VPN services sell anonymous browsing data and do not release results of security audits. Their claims of protection often go unverified.
Buffalo Tech Consulting uses Private Internet Access (PIA). A criminal complaint filed by the FBI in 2016 notes that a subpoena sent to Private Internet Access (PIA) resulted in no useful data being revealed about a suspected hoaxer.
PIA isn’t perfect, but it’s affordable and the FBI filing makes me trust their no-log policy.
In conclusion, the choice between VPNs is a personal one. Your VPN research will reveal which providers maintain logs, how many servers the provider uses and the countries in which they operate.