Data Privacy Act is Long Dead
We never had internet privacy. By the books, all of us should have rights with respect to our private data, which means that we must have personal privacy to browse the internet and not being watched. But in the end, it is all like browsing with a camera eye always watching your screen.
Privacy protections for the internet were never active. Internet service providers (ISP) never asked us for permission to log and share our browsing history. With the decision of the Congress, these privacy protections measures will never be active; which means that your ISP can collect your browsing data without your knowledge. There is no legal protection for users who do not wish to share their data.
Some users happily give away the data in return for free services from the ISP. Others tend to protect their privacy with incognito mode, anti-trackers, and cookie cleaners. Only the incognito mode is just a way to protect your privacy from the browser or from the website you are visiting. Hiding online activities in your browser does not mean that your ISP can’t see what you are doing online. Browsing in incognito mode is not enough to protect your privacy from ISP logging.
What Data Is Collected by ISP?
When taking up an internet connection, an IP is allocated to you automatically. Depending on the ISP you chose, and type of information that you readily share online, your ISP can collect the following data. Even if you are a person who does not share much personal information on the internet your ISP is still able to see.
- Browsing history.
- Videos you watch online.
- Frequently visited pages.
- Your habit of logging in and off.
- The time spent on web pages.
- Your current location.
- Your contact details.
ISP logs can be dangerous. The logged info can be stolen or breached or if you are downloading copyrighted torrents, the logs can be provided to legal enforcement to take an action. ISP logging also means a potential threat to your passwords that could be used by hackers to enter your system if the logged info is breached.
How to Create a Privacy Barrier for ISP
The best way to stop ISPs from seeing your online activities is to create a barrier for the ISP from getting a hand on your data. Connecting to a VPN solves this problem. VPN encrypts the traffic from your internet and your ISP cannot monitor you when you are browsing on the internet. VPN creates an encrypted invisible tunnel for all your data between your device and a VPN server. All that your ISP can see is that you are connected to a VPN, that is all. That is the only thing that it can log.
A VPN protects your online visibility and activity by creating an encrypted tunnel before connecting to the web. Which means that your ISP won’t be able to log what you are browsing or downloading. VPN keeps your data safe by all means, especially when using exposed public Wi-Fi hotspots.
VPN is ISP
When you are connecting to a VPN it becomes your ISP. The VPN server will be a final point between you and the Internet. VPN server now can log all your browsing history and online activity just the same as ISP did. VPN provider has all the means to collect and log your online activity if they wish to infringe your data. To avoid this, you need to use a zero-logs VPN.
Why use a no-logs VPN?
A no-log VPN means that it won’t collect or log any information transmitted through the network. No personal information, no whereabouts, no information on what you download or what you search for. That means your online privacy and anonymity is privacy with your VPN provider as well.
A no-log VPN is purchased to keep your identity anonymous. If a no-log VPN also keeps a log, the anonymity is at risk as the VPN provider can access and share any information outside.
Your VPN promises that it keeps no logs, but that is not the reality. The truth is that VPNs do keep some form of logs for various reasons:
1. To limit the number of devices: All good VPNs earn on the basis of subscriptions. They maintain logs to limit the number of devices used under one subscription. All virtual network providers have set limits-3,5,6 users that can use the service simultaneously. Maintaining this requires some form of logging, at least when the VPN is in use.
The obvious question, how the VPN service is enforcing connection restrictions while still being “no logs” can only be answered by your VPN provider.
2. To limit the bandwidth: Bandwidth can be restricted only by logging to a certain extent. To limit the amount of bandwidth with a particular subscription, the VPN service provider will have to log. There are questions here too, as to how is the provider claiming itself to be a no-log VPN, and also limiting the bandwidth?
3. Logging with rental servers(VPS): Most VPNs use virtual rental servers. Being cheaper than a dedicated, bare-metal server, it is used widely but creates problems privacy-wise. The issue here us that rental servers usually maintain server activity logs. Also, local authorities can also force a server host to maintain a data log. In such a scenario, there is no value to the “no logs” policies of the VPN. Local authorities can directly approach the data center and ask for whatever they need.
4. National spying agencies pressurize companies to log: NSA and GCHQ have been forcing VPN providers to log and handover customer information to them. Since at least 2010, big tech companies in the US have been facilitating NSA spying. In the UK, as per The Investigatory Powers Bill, it is mandatory that all data be logged and maintained for 12 months. Which means that asking for data from a particular company is easy as all data is logged. A condition worse than this, logging requests may come along with a “gag order”, which means that the company cannot even disclose what they are being forced to do.
5. To troubleshoot problems and enhancing VPN performance: Often, VPN providers justify their logging by saying that they need this data to fix service problems and optimize their network. It is not true that providing a fast, secure reliable VPN service requires logging; still, some VPNs maintain basic connection logs to keep everything working well.
Further, we discuss the types of logs that VPN keeps and the reasons for the same. It is important to know as a customer whether logging is really important, or is it just for the companies’ benefit.
Types of VPN logs
There can be three different types of VPN logs that collect your personal data. When it comes to your privacy, it is important to pay attention to your VPNs privacy and logging policy.
1. Usage or browsing logs: your online activity; i.e. browsing history, IP address, metadata, etc. A virtual private network that records your usage data should be avoided. These are usually free VPNs who sold the data to the third party without you knowing it.
3. No logs: simply meaning that the VPN service does not keep any logs. A strict no-log policy is difficult to implement, while at the same time enforcing restrictions, such as device connections or bandwidth. When VPNs need to implement restrictions of bandwidth or the number of devices that each user can use on a single subscription, no logs become an important factor.
Most of the VPNs do require to keep some logs if they are enforcing any kind of limitations such as connection limits or bandwidth limits.
How to Determine a No-log VPN
Knowing that VPN providers maintain some logs for some or the other reason, it is difficult to trust any company. There are VPN companies that protect and encrypt your online activities and follow some good business practices to not log your data. Such VPN providers do not collect your information to sell to third parties for money.
A no-log VPN service is the one that keeps no records or no-logs that can identify the user. Even if there are logs, they are deleted immediately after the session ends.
How No-logging VPNs Protect Your Privacy
VPNs provide high-level privacy against all odds on the internet making sure that your browsing experience is not hampered. A no-log VPN that maintains its professionalism and promises to protect you against all troubles is the best one that you can ask for. Logs are a threat to your piracy; no-log VPN protects you exactly from this.
All VPN services function differently. Not all of them have a lossless network. The market for data selling is all set to grow, increasing risk on your data. There are a bunch of people eyeing your data. Companies see your browsing data to show the most relevant ads to you; government spies on your data to predict your behavior and control you better, and cybercriminals have notorious reasons to do so. It is important to take privacy seriously and get full control of it with a VPN such as the LimeVPN that has a strict no-log policy with a proven track record. The reputation of a no-log VPN is what keeps your faith in using it. So be safe by buying a no-log VPN from a trusted VPN provider and stay secure.