In June 2018, net neutrality across the United States ended. This gave internet service providers (ISPs) unprecedented control over the internet allowing them to keep track of user browsing history.
These ISPs are then bound to share this information with relevant authorities when requested. Specific groups like military veterans, their families, current serving members, and other administration officials are also kept under surveillance in light of the data leaks involving WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, etc.
While these checks may seem appropriate when national security is at stake, it sometimes goes beyond basic human rights. This is particularly true when you are a serving member of the US military or a war veteran. Privacy is a fundamental right for all humans and at times it’s not fair to keep a strict and extensive check on all the people even when they have clean records and no malicious intentions. As a result of these activities, using precautionary measures has become crucial.
How ISPs compromise online activities
All of the data or traffic that originates from a device first goes to the servers of the local ISP. These service providers can tell the location of the user and which website they want to visit. Most ISPs keep a complete record of every user and what they are doing on the internet. For some people, this may be okay but for others, it is just too much. Also, since there are no checks on ISPs at all they can do anything they like with the data they store including selling it. Now, even if the information is sold to advertising companies, it comprises user privacy which can be especially dangerous for individuals with military backgrounds.
Why ISP Surveillance is unethical at times
Since there are no regulations that restrict their power, ISPs can do whatever they want. This motivates them to sometimes cross the line between what is ethical and what is not. Keeping a record of certain individuals may seem relevant but for everyone and then sharing it with third parties at discretion is definitely unethical. Most ISPs ignore this in favor of being able to make a few extra bucks from selling user data traffic records to other entities.
What does ISP do with your data
ISPs have complete control over the data that they store. They can use it at will and given the type of activities that we do online these days, there are unimaginable risks. The internet has become a hub for almost everything that we do from information gathering to connectivity, from entertainment to financial transactions. Members of the military whether serving or retired are not just at risk due to cybercrime but also from a marketing perspective with different brands trying to sell to them appropriately.
How to protect online activities
There are several ways in which online activities can be safeguarded. The most effective among them all is to use a VPN. Every time we connect to the internet, we are assigned an IP address that is public. You can simply Google “What is my IP location” to find out yours. All online entities including ISPs use this to track our location and then keep check on everything that we do on the internet. Using a VPN is imperative because other than that the solutions that are available are too cumbersome to implement.
What does a VPN do to safeguard online privacy?
In a normal data connection, access requests are sent first to the ISP and then to the website for which they were intended. With a VPN in place, the role of the ISP is either eliminated or minimized. Data requests are sent first to the secure servers of the VPN and then to the website for which they were intended. In this way, the VPN masks your IP address and makes all data traffic anonymous. The result is safe browsing all the time.
Some VPN features that are must-have
US military veterans, serving members and their facilities face greater risks from several entities because they sometimes carry potentially sensitive information. A VPN for Windows helps them secure not just their own identity but also that of the data that they might have on their systems. However, it is important to pick a VPN service that is reliable on all accounts. Here are a few features to look for in a VPN:
Encryption helps protect data while it is moving from one server to another. The information is coded so that it can also be decoded with an access key that is unique and not duplicable. A good VPN needs to offer at least 256-bit encryption which is the highest and most secure protocol available these days.
A good VPN needs to have several additional protocols to ensure that there is no stone left unturned for the protection of sensitive information. Some of the best VPNs like Ivacy offer multiple layers that can be added over one another to create military-grade protection against any elements like ISPs who may be trying to take advantage of personal data, especially from military families.
On top of everything, there needs to be a backup for everything. A contingency plan for even things goes south, in case they do. A VPN can offer internet kill switches, split tunneling, and other similar mechanisms to aid in the process of keeping all types of data safe and user privacy ensured at all times. This should hold true in all circumstances.
There are several VPNs ranking among the top services these days. Ivacy is one of them. It comes highly recommended from various sources and is one of the most trustworthy yet affordable services on the market. If you are looking for a VPN, be sure to check it out.
Author Bio: Scott is a cyber-security professional. He’s been writing in the internet privacy niche for a while now and has churned a variety of informational pieces to educate his audience. Connect with him on Twitter.