Sunday 27 November 2016

Online Privacy Suffers Major Blow

If you go online you're probably aware that some of your activity may be monitored by your employer, but what about your government?

Traditionally some form of oversight was required to keep a cyber-eye on citizens.

That's not the case in the UK any longer. The Investigatory Powers Bill was passed by Parliament this month after over a year of debate and amendments.

The bill gives multiple government organizations, including police, food regulators, fire officials, and tax inspectors the authority to review the web activities of everyone in the country.

Internet Service Providers will be required to keep copies for a year of every website someone visits, as well as every app they use, all for review at the discretion of the government agencies.

What's even more troubling is this may set a precedent other countries try to follow.

It's a massive blow to personal privacy, but there is something UK citizens can do about it, and you can too.

Use a VPN.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates an encrypted tunnel between you and the VPN provider's servers. All traffic between you and the provider appears as gibberish to regulators.

In this case I'd suggest UK citizens buy VPN services from companies located outside the UK. Some European countries have very strict privacy laws, severely reducing the likelihood that any information will ever be successfully requested from the VPN provider.

What's more, the good VPN providers refuse to keep logs of pretty much everything, saying they can't be compelled to turn over information to authorities that they don't posses.

Using a VPN is often a good idea, although you will feel a slight performance hit on your speed as a result. All your traffic would be routed through the VPN provider, so instead of going from your desktop to your ISP, then to the internet, it could go from your desktop to a server in Sweden, then to the internet.

A little slower, but no one will be easily tracing anything back to you.

If this interests you look around, there are deals to be had right now. Nord VPN (regarded as one of the best VPN providers around) is having a 75% off sale, you can buy a 2yr subscription for $72.

VPN's may not be for everyone, you may feel you don't care if Big Brother watches your every online move.

Personally I find the Investigatory Powers Bill troubling, and if a similar piece of legislature was introduced here I'd be rushing to sign up for a VPN.

At least readers of this blog will know they have a choice.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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