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More than ever, companies can track your browsing history, and your Internet Service Provider can now sell data on your online habits—without you ever knowing.
ISP's will now be tracking users’ activities beyond merely what websites they’re visiting. So if you want to, say, get driving directions for a faraway town, you’ll end up getting relevant ads.
This may seem innocuous (big deal, an ad about a hotel in the area), but what if you were researching treatment options for your newly diagnosed medical condition? This, too, would get picked up by your ISP and sold to marketing firms.
Is there a way around this intrusion?
You just might be able to opt out of some data collection by your ISP. “Might” is the key word. There’s no law requiring ISPs to offer an opt-out. With privacy laws now lax, ISPs may just ignore government recommendations to offer opt-outs.
Enter the VPN: virtual private network—your protection against intrusion.
A VPN will encrypt your online activities, making them look random to your ISP. Your ISP won’t have any interest in tracking encrypted usage.
Why get a VPN?
- Creates a barrier between you and hackers, snoopers and your ISP who wants to sell your browsing habits.
- Gives peace of mind when you use Wi-Fi at airports, hotels, coffee shops etc as well as at home (you are not protected just because it is your own private home connection).
- Allows you to access restricted content by changing your IP address and making you appear to be somewhere you're not.
Guidelines for choosing a VPN service provider
- Consider a VPN that charges a fee. Free is nice but paid is faster with no ads.
- Look for a VPN that offers a client for each of the devices and platforms you use at home and work- iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, etc.
- The service should be able to support your data load. You don't want restrictions shutting you down. Read the terms of service to find out more about this.
- Choose a reputable VPN that discloses its management team and investors. Like any internet-based service, scammers can set up fake VPN services designed to steal your data. Do your homework.
Click here to learn more about how Hotspot Shield can help you take back your online privacy and access a secure, unrestricted internet.