Metadata Retention Scheme Deadline Arrives, Advocates Advice on Getting a VPN



Internet service providers (ISP) in Australia had until last Thursday, April 13, 2017, to comply with metadata retention scheme which was passed two years ago. This law enforces ISPs and telecommunication companies to collect and store all the data from their consumers generated from call, text, and internet usage.

Tim Singleton Norton, a digital rights advocate from the Digital Rights Watch, said that consumers should get a VPN service if they do not want the government to spy on them. He said that digital rights advocates were calling a ‘get a VPN day’. “[A] VPN is probably one of the best ways to try and get around the idea of your internet provider providing all of the metadata engagement that you do online to your government,” he said.


What Information Can Be Collected?


“So it’s not the actual things you write in your email and text messages and what you’re saying in a phone call, but it is where you did it from, when you did it, to whom, how often. Things like location services, telco towers — it’s all the information surrounding those interactions.” Tim Norton Singleton said.


How Can A VPN Protect You?


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that creates a secure connection over a public network such as the internet. Using a VPN provides the users a secure private connection even if they’re not in the same local area network (LAN). It also connects multiple computers to gain access to resources even if they are in remote areas.

VPNs ensure your privacy by hiding all your internet activities from your internet service provider and lets you evade censorship by your school, work, internet service provider, or the government – anything that prohibits you from visiting websites. It also bypasses geo-restrictions and lets you use public Wi-Fi hotspots securely.

Using a VPN has many advantages in terms of privacy and resource access. This is why many VPN services are out in the market today which promises to provide you with safe and secure internet experience.


How Does a VPN Work?


When using a VPN, all the data travels between your computer and the VPN server – which means your internet service provider is unable to see it. All your data goes through an encrypted connection called a ‘VPN tunnel’. Anyone can intercept your data, but they won’t be able to read it because it’s encrypted.

A VPN masks your IP address by using its own including the country you are located in. This means that if the VPN server you are using is located in a different country from yours, you will appear to be accessing the internet in that country. If anyone tries to monitor your activity, they will only trace it back to the VPN server.

Your internet service provider may not know what you’re up to, but your VPN server does. Your real IP address is hidden from other websites, and unless your VPN server hands your usage to third parties, your usage will remain hidden. It’s better to research ahead on servers that take their user’s privacy seriously.

One factor to consider, though, is the processing power required to encrypt and decrypt data which could slow down your internet speed. The VPN server’s location is also another factor, because the farther the distance that the data has to travel, the longer it takes for you to receive it. So another tip on choosing a VPN server is to pick one located nearest to yours.


What Should I Consider When Choosing a VPN?


There are numerous VPN services out there with their unique features, and setting up has been made extremely simple. However, it’s always good to know how to choose a VPN and to understand how it works. Different VPN services have varying protocols, and having a bit of knowledge about each one will help you pick the best VPN service that suits your needs.

Speed. This pertains to the processing power required to encrypt and decrypt data, and the distance that the data has to travel.

Price. Choose the server that provides the best service with the best price (most VPN servers cost $5 to $10 per month).

Security. Look up what their technical measures are against hackers trying to pry your data.

Server location. The more servers and locations that the VPN server provides, the more chances of finding a location that suits you best.

Simultaneous connections. You might want to check out the number of devices that a VPN server lets you connect to – most VPNs let you connect up to five devices or more.

Software features. Choose a VPN with an easy to use interface and unique features, such as internet kill switch and DNS leak protection.

OS support. Before deciding on a VPN server to use, make sure that it supports your device’s operating system.

Customer support. Look for those with 24-hour customer support who actually understands your concerns and knows how to provide a solution.

Free trials. One way of selecting the best VPN server that suits your needs is to avail of their free trials.


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