Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to make your browsing (a bit) more private

It may soon be the case that your Internet service provider was note that you are reading this blog post and sell that information to some company.

Confirming yet again that the Republicans are the party of self-immolation, the Congress has voted and sent to President Trump a bill allowing the ISPs to do just that. The White House has said he will sign it.

So you can get upset about that, as I did, and/or you can try to make your privacy more secure. Here's an article that can show you how. I'm going to focus here on the part about Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs.
If you've ever connected at home to your office you've probably use a VPN. They enable users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Individual Internet users may secure their wireless transactions with a VPN, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship, or to connect to proxy servers for the purpose of protecting personal identity and location.

Here's what the article says:
Most VPNs are services that cost money. But the first VPN option I’m going to tell you about is convenient and completely free. 
Opera is a popular web browser that comes with some excellent privacy features, like a free built-in VPN and a free ad blocker (and as you may know, ads can spy on you).
If you just want a secure way to browse the web without ISPs being able to easily snoop on you and sell your data, Opera is a great start. Let’s install and configure it real quick. This takes less than 5 minutes. 
Before you get started, note that this will only anonymize the things you do within the Opera browser. Also, I’m obligated to point out that even though Opera’s parent company is European, it was recently purchased by a consortium of Chinese tech companies, and there is a non-zero risk that it could be compromised by the Chinese government.
So, wow, who you gonna trust? If you want to go with Opera the article tells you how. After setting it up I visited ipleak.net. I'm not too sure what I learned there. If you understand it, you can explain it to me. So perhaps I'm safer. Perhaps not. Consider:
Even though most users of VPNs are companies with remote employees, the NSA will still put you on a list if you purchased a VPN. So I recommend using something anonymous to do so, like a pre-loaded Visa card.
Hey there, NSA!

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