Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to choose a VPN provider

In recent years the general public has been made aware how governments (read corporation conglomerates) have been acquiring [your?] data.

From web surfing history, online purchases, emails, phone records, texts including their content, literally your entire digital footprint is collected and stored.

Instead of enacting privacy laws that protect the masses governments have ramped up more laws that invade the so called privacy the people may have thought they had once upon a time.

The VPN (Virtual Private Network) is not a new invention, where it could be older than may of the users of social media sites, where in its early days it was associated with a workplace creating a secure tunnel over the internet for workers to communicate securely to their other offices.

In the early days of network hardware encryption companies like Cisco had the market sewn up, but as always, as time goes on, other companies have sprouted up and started to offer those services to the masses.

So how does one choose a company to provide a VPN service to a member of the masses?

Nowadays the above question has a few aspects: a technical one and a political and a legal one.

To make this post as brief as possible we're going to cut straight to the chase, and provide a few basic tips.

The companies to stay away from are the one's who operate in five, nine or fourteen eyes countries which are as follows:

Five: UK, US, CA, NZ, AU
Nine: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway
Fourteen: Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain.

It does not matter what they write in their spiel, about how private they are, it's best to stay away from them.

As an example of government / company lies, a group of companies called the  'Australian Government' has stated that there are three levels of government, that being federal, state/territory and local, see attached photo:

There are only two lawful levels of government: federal and state /territory but alas, this is a digression.

It's good to chose a company that does not store cookies, or use external trackers or have external analytical services.

Third party email is also a weak point, as it can be compromised.

Stay away from companies :

- that keep logs,
- offer only PPTP,
- give out info from "court orders" in "other jurisdictions" (we should know how dodgy they can be).

Run some testing software to see if there are any leaks, or for how long your true IP address masked.

Refer to user forums for technicalities, rather than advertising material alone.

At the end of the day it also comes to trust, in that you trust the company that you are dealing with that they are telling you the truth e.g. that they do not store any logs of your activity.

There is no doubt that there could have been many more words written in this post on this topic.

If you have a shopping list of VPN providers, that can be crossed of from some of the basic info provided here, then you could be on your way into narrowing your choices where you might want to delve deeper into the technical details to make sure that the company is right for you.

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