Congress sold you out, what now?  Simple guide to online data privacy  

 

statue of Cain by Henry Vidal, fragment, Tuileries Garden, Paris, France.

Privacy is a fundamental human right, declared so by the United Nations but don’t rest assured Congress is about to shake that up.

An inglorious attempt to block online privacy regulations to go into effect was made last week by the US Senate and this week’s House decision. Rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission or FCC to ask for permission before selling your browsing data, even though passed in October of last year, under the Obama administration, had not yet gone into effect.

Data collection and data selling is nothing new under the sun for your ISP, so continuing business as usual, selling your data to the highest bidder without bothering to ask you first, is a real privilege. One very particular privilege that sounds more like stepping on one of our most fundamental rights: the right to privacy.

#WHATSTHEDRAMA

 

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If you’re anything like me, the whole ordeal sounds a bit exhausting and futile since you don’t have “state secrets to hide”. But having nothing to hide doesn’t make a good case for allowing the abuse here, does it? nor does it set the premise to influence change for the better in a digital world becoming less and less private.

Your exact physical location from minute to minute, the constant monitoring, all the websites you visit, your banking details or social security number, clicks, searches, app downloads and video streams, shopping hobbits, porn preferences and even the content of chats and emails fall under the above litigious case. Sure, you’re going to appear as an ID, a long sequence of numbers, but isn’t that just the coldest of comforts? More, isn’t the social profiling that’s the most dangerous, not to mention annoying? And to add to the conundrum, how is it not having to give consent over sharing this information ever going to lead to a greater good? Can we still talk about thinks like the right to privacy then, when our boundaries have shifted so much we can no longer see where we took the left turn.

Rollback of FCC regulations could mean creating a loophole, to put more “in the gray” a matter that’s already debatable, so the next logical thing is to expect those who will take advantage of these loopholes. Even if we step aside from the bias of politics, regardless if this is a matter of democratic or republican enforcement, where do we, as individuals, draw the line?

The upcoming rule of FCC was going to make it slightly more difficult for your ISP to collect and sell your data to third parties like advertisers, by requiring a customer opt-in. This new privacy rule was set to take effect in December of this year, had it not been for the recent House and Senate vote to remove it.

Already passing the Senate, the companion legislation raises legitimate privacy concerns and President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.

But how was this even possible and who’s benefitting off of it, you wonder? Passed in 1996 to allow Congress to overrule regulations created by government agencies, The Congressional Review Act (CRA) had been used once prior to 2017. With the new administration however, that took over in January, CRA has proven to be very lucrative, being successfully used 3 times to overturn things like environmental regulations and this time online privacy regulations.
Benefitting at the end of the scheme the rollback creates, stand four big companies as speculated: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and Comcast, all proven to have previously used “in the grey” practices of online personal data collection.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPT IN AND OPT OUT

 

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there will be voices that will say, there’s no big difference between the opt in policy proposed by democrats versus the opt out advocated by republicans. Don’t believe them, there’s immense difference between the two.

Requesting people to opt in for the collecting and selling of their data to advertisers is reasonably expected to bring infinitely less people volunteering for such a cause, than collecting of data by default. Having to go through exhausting opt out processes will surely make a lot of people put up with the abuse, simply because let’s face it, we have better things to do with our time than constantly monitor our ISPs privacy policies. I would rather get myself a VPN then set a google alert for my ISP’s name and privacy.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

 

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No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.

Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, your ISP will not be able to make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online data happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.

But it’s not just your ISP that keeps track of your browsing data, it’s your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same.

Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they create by charging extra for privacy.

Having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT GET A FREE VPN

The phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch” made popular by Milton Friedman back ’75, remains of great economic relevance today in describing things like “opportunity costs”. However enticing, free VPNs seldom defeat the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.

· IT AIN’T A FREE LUNCH

A VPN service implies having servers in various countries. The maintenance or renting costs can amount a few figures, depending on volume.

· SELLING USERS BANDWIDTH

“When the product is free. You are the product”-

 

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using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers have been revealed, while others admit in their lawyer-eese terms of service, they can sell your bandwidth to other companies.

In other words, by searching a bargain you can be faced with two main issues:

1. Slower computer and internet connection: as you’re sharing your bandwidth and processor with others;

2. Higher Security Risks: assuming responsibility for what other users do online, that can be tracked down back to your IP.

A good VPN will have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN services are often an open door to malware and can be easily used by scammers.

In the FREE vs. PAID matter, its is important to understand that most legit businesses will offer 7 days of free trial, but a free connection on a indefinite period of time is sure to get its profit elsewhere; in ways that can harm your security and defeat the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.

We suggest you do yourself a favor and invest a good 5 bucks for a reliable VPN like the dedicated VPN you can get from My IP.io or from another reliable provider.

As a general rule, mundane but so incredibly important, reading the company’s Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, before buying a vpn service is a thing you should really consider. Ideally, these documents are in plain English and not lawyer-eese.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • HTTPS : -makes it harder for your ISP to see what you’re doing on any web site, as they can only see that you’re on YouTube, for example, but not what video you’re viewing.
  • Disabling cookies or installing an ad blocker: — prevents tracking by conventional ad networks;
  • Opting out your ISP
    use a different ISP. Not all ISP want to sell their user’s data. In fact, a list of some of the smaller players — including Sonic, Cruzio Internet and Etheric Networks — wrote a letter opposing the repeal of the FCC’s privacy rules. The only problem is that they’re not as wide-spread as the big players and you might not have the luxury to chose a smaller company.

Having a robust VPN to encrypt your personal data is nowadays, the only way to Zion.

And as we’re not looking to exhaust the “hide everything I do” reasoning; we mainly believe that a VPN is not paramount to activity that borders on illegal, but the very symbol of our right to the privacy acumen.

10 things to look for when buying a VPN

 

 

 

Here to spare you the trouble of such a tiring task, as VPN providers ourselves, we’ve put our heads together to asses the most desirable features a good VPN should have and are giving you the scoop on all. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, as we list the 10 most important features to look for in a VPN.

 

A well grounded economic notion warning about the unforeseen consequential effects of abundance describes excess as threatening to social welfare. Unlike other economic theories talking about scarcity, this time, excess is the enemy in gradually rendering human labor as redundant when compared with machine automation.

 

Now, let’s take the theory of abundance and apply it to a more trivial concern than that of pondering upon the fate of economics. Let’s think about internet and internet browsing for a bit and how the paradox of abundance can take new meaning here.

 

A simple google search will often return dozens of results to the point that you might find yourself faced with redundant choices, every once too often. In our case, if you stumbled upon the title, my guess is you are looking for a good reliable VPN provider, but don’t really know what to chose as you don’t really have the time or the inclination to do a VPN research among providers promising to sell, products that may look similar or the same, at first glance.

 

No. 1: PRICE

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Photo Credit: wikiart.org

When it comes to free versus paid, there is no debate really. Going with a free VPN service could defeat the very purpose you’re using such a service. “When the product is free, you are the product” – here’s the wild idea. Let’s drill into its meaning a bit to give background:  Let’s start from another similar premise popularized by Milton Friedman back ’75, the phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch, of great economic relevance today in describing things like “opportunity costs”. However enticing, free VPNS seldom defeat the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.

  • When the product is free, you are the product– A VPN service implies having servers in various countries. The maintenance or renting costs can amount a few figures, depending on volume. using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers have been revealed, while others admit in their lawyer-eese terms of service, they can sell your bandwidth to other companies.

 

In other words, by searching a bargain you can be faced with two main issues:

 

  1. Slower computer and internet connection: as you’re sharing your bandwidth and processor with others;
  2. Higher Security Risks: assuming responsibility for what other users do online, that can be tracked down back to your IP.

 

  • Data Collection: In depth analytics of your use data can be sold to third parties companies. Choosing a VPN provider, like My IP.io, that goes on a “no log kept” policies is the best approach to the matter.

 

  • Ads: modifying the web code to show ads is a common practice for “free” VPN services.

 

  • A good VPNwill have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN services are often an open door to malware and can be easily used by scammers.

 

 

In the FREE vs. PAID matter, its is important to understand that most legit businesses will offer 7 days of free trial, but a free connection on a indefinite period of time is sure to get its profit elsewhere; in ways that can harm your security and defeat the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.

 

We suggest you do yourself a favor and invest a good 5 bucks for a reliable VPN like the dedicated VPN you can get from My IP.io or from another reliable provider. Prices are raging from $7 to $12 depending on the subscription time commitment, so going with My IP.io is a no brainer considering the unrivaled cost to features ratio.

 

No.2: TEST SERVICE TIME

 

 

To test the service most providers allow 7 days money back guarantee and of course My IP is no exception when it comes to letting users try the service out.

No. 3: COMPATIBILITY

Compatibility with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices are a given for most VPN products out there. Stepping up a notch come browser extensions and compatibility with Kindle/eReader,  TV or gaming systems.

All My IP.io products are compatible with all major OSes (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) plus Routers and Linux.

No. 4: ENCRYPTION

 

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They say that a VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities, but encryption in itself is not the simplest of topics. The terminology used to determine how secure a VPN connection is, can get very confusing, very quickly. Slapdash to the point of being misleading, many VPN providers describe the encryption they use in a telegraphic manner or worse, they don’t describe it at all.

 

Before getting familiar with security standards and encryption protocols, let’s just focus on this pretty impressive feature for a VPN to have, the Open VPN Cipher: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys — also known as the AES-256. This security standard is basically the same encryption standard adopted by the U.S. government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.

Right below we have AES- 128, the Open VPN Cipher used by My IP.io, which remains secure as far as the AES in general is regarded. The mathematics of the 128 bit AES goes to show that a billion billion years are required and a supercomputer for a brute force attack to crack it.

Pretty impressive, huh?

With this in mind, here’s the actual math of the number of years it would take to crack 128- bit AES (notice the exponential increase depending on the key size!)

 

No. of Years to crack AES with 128-bit Key = (3.4 x 1038) / [(10.51 x 1012) x 31536000]
= (0.323 x 1026)/31536000
= 1.02 x 1018
= 1 billion billion years

Of course AES is not perfect, but hey! math doesn’t lie.

 

My IP.io comes bundled with a variety of VPN encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols including SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher.

When you use the MY IP.io app, you can easily switch between protocols, although it’s recommended that you stick with defaults.

No. 5: LOCATIONS

Generally used to epitomize how the right or wrong location can determine the outcome of a property sale or a new business venture, the phrase “location, location, location” acquires new meaning when referenced in Tech. Just as sometimes access to venture capitalists is somewhat more difficult, if you’re not in Silicon Valley, Alley or Prairie, often digital access requires geographical variables to wire.

 

You might be a french citizen with a industrial Design degree at the OSU in Ohio working remotely from Sidney for an US company that operates in Singapore with an innate passion for video games and plenty of geographically dispersed friends from back in boarding. Naturally, you will encounter geo-restrictions when connecting to your remote workplace or when you digress to getting your hands on Witchers 4 (!on the absolute latest timezone release), or even when communicating with your friends from abroad. Having a VPN in place to bypass geo-restriction, while keeping your privacy, hidden under rocks, is the way to go, keeping your data encrypted, while giving you tunnel vision to distant locations.

 

Geared with brand new locations from California to Florida, from United Kingdom to Germany or Australia to Japan, My IP.io comes with brand new locations to chose from.

Introducing a much more location diverse dedicated VPN service, our latest server acquisitions are located in:

  • USA California
  • USA Oregon
  • USA Ohio
  • USA North Virginia
  • USA Florida
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Japan

 

Ok, but what’s the right location for you, right?
Long story short, if you’re in east Asia try to connect to Singapore or US; or if you’re in the Middle East, try connecting in Europe. The first thing to consider is the nearest location to yours.

 

No. 6: LOGGING POLICIES

A common misconception goes to say that US VPN services are legally required to log activity on their network. While required to cooperate with US law enforcement, as opposed to other countries, the location of servers is often more important.

Not compliant with DMCA are a lot of server locations outside the US.

 

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

No. 7: SUPPORT

Most VPN providers offer support centers and entire achieves of How Tos or FAQs, but let’s face it, having a reliable support features means more than that. You want to be able to talk through live chat or with a live representative at times.

A VPN with My IP.io will give you access to one of the most diverse support system a VPN provider could give you. 24/7 Support through live chat or by phone, a comprehensive video gallery of how tos, ticket or email support and even remote desktop support, where the case.

No. 8: DEDICATED IPs

Very useful when playing online games or logging into services such as banks, Paypal, e-mail providers, etc., a static IP is an underrated asset, than not many VPN providers, big names (surprisingly enough), offer.

The ones that do offer a dedicated IP will charge the service as add on and will not always be that transparent about prices.

 

At My IP.io you can get your own static IP address for as little as $5/ month.

Many times, a dynamic VPN service can be rejected by services like gmail, for example. By using a shared VPN IP, Google may flag your account and require 2factor authentication.

For the record, http://64.233.187.99/ is Google’s.

This is their dedicated IP address and no one else’s, the unique address on the web that has been attached to the domain name google.com.

To have and to hold, a pretty alluring thought!

By Purchasing a Dedicated IP your site is the only one on the Internet that will be using that unique IP address.

Apart from the alluring sound of it, with a dedicated IP address, processes are allowed to run for more than 10 minutes as long as they aren’t consuming too much of the server’s memory, which would result in a CPU throttling. Moreover, certain voice chat programs require a dedicated IP address before they can be setup and used or if you have a program that sends out emails every so many seconds, such as from a mailing list program like DaDa Mail, then you would need to get a dedicated IP address, if it’s going to take more than 10 minutes to send out the emails.

No.9: BUSINESS PLANS

VPNs are often the communication platform of choice for virtually any business that takes itself seriously, as they enable site-to-site connection with a service provider managing the end-to-end network. A VPN enables a computer that is located outside the corporate network to connect to that network as if it were inside the building, allowing access to internal resources such as file shares, applications, and printers. Beyond connectivity a VPN implicitly means that a secure bridge has been created between any given device using that connection and your business server, which can be on your premises or in the cloud.

Appliances or servers will give you great control, but cloud-based, hosted or outsourced VPN services are the real deal breaker, with an unrivaled cost-to-features and security ratio, spearing you of the typical technical hurdles of on premise deployment and use.

A hosted business VPN solution will overcome the following thorny issues:

  • on premise deployment:
    having a dedicated VPNin place will reduce the complexity of deployment and use to a minimum of only having to run a single interface software;
  • data security:
    internal data, sites, git repositories and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;
  • remote connectivity:
    you will enable access across a geographically disperse workforce;

 

My IP.io, the platform of choice for many agile businesses, trusted brand by thousands of happy business owners.

With our business VPN suite comes strengthened security, as the service is not limited to encryption. We also support all the latest security protocols including SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP, and OpenVPN.

The level of sophistication depends on the number of accounts and/ devices: our business VPN solution can consolidate all your team’s accounts into one master account, a convenient scenario in terms of having control, management and payment. We can allocate a whole subnet, so that you won’t be constrained as to having to whitelist multiple IPs or we can engineer a custom solution for your, in which we install a LDAP server. You will be given a password manager and VPN server and you’re free to run your own network to your preference. The business VPN solution allows multiple people to be logged in and proxying through a single IP address at one time, simultaneous connection for all on multiple devices, editing and monitor access, from a single, easy-to-use central admin area.

My IP.io Business VPN Benefits:

Multiple VPN Accounts

Dedicated Suppot

One Master Account

Discounts

To get started in full big business connectivity way, just connect with My IP.io and we’ll assign an account manager that will guide you through the whole installation process and assist you each step of the way for the whole period of your subscription. Once the number of accounts and connections are defined, we can set things in motion for you and your team.

No. 10: SIMULTANEOUS CONNECTIONS

Last, but certainly not least, the number of simultaneous connections can be a big plus for any VPN account you might decide to go with. Most VPN Providers will allow 1 to 5 simultaneous connections for each account. With My IP, a master account, available for business plans can get you up to 50 per account.

 

 

Hope the list here helps you make better informed decisions in the future!

Stay smart!

Introducing Best New VPN Locations

Easy guide on how to chose your VPN location like a PRO

Generally used to epitomize how the right or wrong location can determine the outcome of a property sale or a new business venture, the phrase “location, location, location” acquires new meaning when referenced in Tech. Just as sometimes access to venture capitalists is somewhat more difficult, if you’re not in Silicon Valley, Alley or Prairie, often digital access requires geographical variables to wire.

You can buy the right home in the wrong location and might find yourself distant or completely cut off from some of the amenities a better neighbourhood can proffer. You can change or remodel your house, but, ordinarily, it will remain attached to the land. Much more enticing than being pinned down to one particular geographical place, our digital lives often extend far beyond our geographical coordinates.

 

You might be a french citizen with a industrial Design degree at the OSU in Ohio working remotely from Sidney for an US company that operates in Singapore with an innate passion for video games and plenty of geographically dispersed friends from back in boarding. Naturally, you will encounter geo-restrictions when connecting to your remote workplace or when you digress to getting your hands on Witchers 4, on the absolute latest timezone release, or even when communicating with your friends from abroad. Having a VPN in place to bypass geo-restriction, while keeping you privacy, hidden under rocks, is the way to go, keeping your data encrypted, while giving you tunnel vision to distant locations.

Geared with brand new locations from California to Florida, from United Kingdom to Germany or Australia to Japan, My IP.io comes with brand new locations to chose from.

Introducing a much more location diverse dedicated VPN service, our latest server acquisitions are located in:

  • USA California
  • USA Oregon
  • USA Ohio
  • USA North Virginia
  • USA Florida
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Japan

Ok, but what’s the right location for you, right?

Here are some tips on how to chose the right Location for you:

  • Looking for access to Censored Content: Google, Facebook, Twitter or Skype?

The no brainer here is to select a location where access to these services is not restricted.

Photo Credit: www.fusionspark.com

 

The Chinese internet, for example, goes by very strict policies imposed by a variety of laws and administrative regulations, controlled by an authoritarian government that tries to neutralize critical online opinion. It’s an unprecedented censorship system in all rights, that turned the Chinese internet into the largest digital boundary the world has ever seen. Beijing walls its homeground internet from the rest of the digital world for two decades, preventing technology companies like Facebook to tap the Chinese market.

It’s no news that the Chinese market is home to a copycat cultural habit, but at the same time China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation if we were to quote New York Times. While still lagging in some important areas, China managed to protrude Baidu instead of Google, Weibo for Twitter, WeChat for Facebook or Alibaba instead of Amazon. Letting users hail a taxi or order a pizza without switching to another app., the rich, resourceful Chinese digital world is proving itself to be worthy of causing a real great split between China and the rest of the world.

There are many ways of circumventing the totalitarian Chinese surveillance system, such as proxy servers or VPNs. Any company selling VPN services in China must comply with regulations, hence register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Plus they’re constantly targeted by the local authorities and are often slow and unstable. As monitoring and surveillance is not confined to the Great Firewall, but built-in social networks, chat services and VoIP, the best solution falls in the court of companies outside China.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

Long story short, if you’re in east Asia try to connect to Singapore or US; of you’re in the Middle East, try connecting in Europe.

  • Looking for Security and not necessarily circumvent geo-restrictions?

The first thing to consider is the nearest location to yours.

 

Photo Credit: ymutate.tumblr.com

Learn about the layers of encryption built into your VPN service. They say that a VPN is only as good as its encryption capabilities, but encryption in itself is not the simplest of topics. The terminology used to determine how secure a VPN connection is, can get very confusing, very quickly. Slapdash to the point of being misleading, many VPN providers describe the encryption they use in a telegraphic manner or worse, they don’t describe it at all.

Essentially, when using a VPN app., data is encrypted at each end of the tunnel and decrypted at the other end. The tunnel itself is simply the path connecting two locations (flashback to a tunnel going under a mountain, where the mountain is the internet and the tunnel is the safe path through the other side). When it reaches the internet, each data file is broken into a series of packets to be sent and received by devices connected to the internet, as the de facto manner in which data travels online. In this context, tunneling is the process of placing an entire packet within another packet (yeah! Just like a Russian nesting doll, a Matryoshka of files) before being sent on the internet. That outer packet protects the inner packets and ensures that the “cargo” moves within the virtual tunnel. While the tunnel itself is not encrypted, but encoding can be added, a VPN needs more than just a pair of keys in order to apply encryption. This is where protocols come in.

My IP.io comes bundled with a variety of VPN encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols including PPTP, IPSec, L2TP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher. When you use the MY IP.io app, you can easily switch between protocols, although it’s recommended that you stick with defaults.

Now that you know how to address the “location” aspect of a VPN, remember that My IP’s latest server locations were hand-picked to deliver the most reliable speed. We continuously update our server locations by analyzing numerous data points, among which: Connection success rate, Customer usage and Speed.

When choosing a location it is also important to check things like: Speed Index, Latency, and Download Speed, as these are all important factors. This is what they mean: Speed Index: shows how fast the VPN server is; the higher the number, the better the server. Download Speed: it tells you how fast your VPN server is able to download information; also the higher, the better.wit Latency: it’s the time it takes for a data packet to go from your device to reach the VPN