A new bill faces Congress that poses a greater threat to our online privacy and free speech. This bill will allow government agencies to access our information through web service providers. CISPA already has SUPPORT from Facebook, Microsoft, and many other companies that have no motivation to oppose it. It’s up to us.
Spread the word, fight CISPA!
Good grief. I see that they’re taking the shotgun approach, combined with the bait and switch approach, to getting their invasive crap pushed into law.
I wonder if this one will get stopped? I’m skeptical that it will.
The rest of this post is to everyone:
With SOPA, PIPA, and now CISPA (and who knows what the next attempt will be), it’s probably time to add an additional security tool to our Internet Security / Anti-Virus software. Everyone (or at least hopefully most of us!) has anti-virus software on our computers that blocks viruses, trojans, spyware, and so on. It’s only natural to add a VPN service to that list of PC security tools.
In short, a VPN “cloaks” your Internet traffic. This does not encrypt your traffic to the entire Internet. However, it does prevent your ISP from having any knowledge of what you’re doing online. It also prevents them from “inspecting” or “spying” on your Internet traffic, so they will have no information to share with others. This will go a long way toward protecting you from the invasive behaviors that certain legislature is trying to make possible.
Since a VPN only “cloaks” your traffic from the eyes of your ISP, you will still need to be mindful of the information that you provide to websites, like Facebook.
An additional benefit of a VPN is that it hides your real IP address, so websites that you visit (like Google) can not build a profile about you based on your browsing habits, and they can’t track your location via your IP address (which is very easy to do. Click here to see for yourself.)
For the truly concerned, I’d suggest purging (most, if not all) personal information from Facebook and Google Plus (and similar accounts). Your friends already know who you are, where you live, what your school is, where you work, and so on, so they’re probably not going to need Facebook for anything other than quickly contacting you or making plans to go out. In my experience, this has worked out rather well (and the people who are not actually friends of mine, well, they didn’t need that information).
When getting a VPN service, you need to weigh your needs of speed versus privacy. For example, if you use Netflix or Hulu to stream movies and TV shows, and you’re in the U.S., then you’re going to want a VPN service that’s located in the U.S. so that you have the best possible speeds. The same is true if you stream a lot of HD video off of YouTube.
If you just browse the Internet, chat, and don’t stream a lot of video, then you can probably use a service from the UK or Sweden, who will protect your privacy a lot more than a U.S. based service would.
My VPN service is based in the U.S. Using this service I can easily stream 1080p HD video, do video chats in Skype, and use Magic Jack to make VoIP phone calls. I even play Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition through my VPN service, although that does tend to have some lag to it. It’s not bad, though.
My service is WiTopia.net. If you splurge the money on their Cloakbox Pro then every form of Internet communication from your house will be “cloaked” from your ISP (this is what I use). If you get the less expensive PersonalVPN or PersonalVPN Pro services, then you will install certain security software on your PC, and only the Internet traffic from that one PC will be “cloaked”.
Their Cloakbox Pro is very easy to install and get running. It is almost certainly the easiest way to “cloak” everything from your house. Unfortunately Tumblr blocks (at least some of) Witopia’s servers, so you would need to find an alternative way to access Tumblr, such as using Tor.
My hobby is in Internet security & privacy (particularly privacy), so this is something that I’ve been doing for quite some time.
An alternative to WiTopia is SecurityKiss, which is based in Ireland. Their speed is okay, although not good enough (in my experience) to stream 1080p videos. However, it’s perfectly fine for browsing the Internet, chatting, using Tumblr (Tumblr doesn’t block them as aggressively), and doing the usual stuff. SecurityKiss offers the option to purchase their service using bitcoins, which will prevent any money trail leading back to you, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.
SecurityKiss is priced very reasonably (pricing info here), but they do not offer a “Cloakbox” service. They do offer a free plan to test them out, but the freebie service is very limited in the amount of data that you can transfer.
I hope that helps. Later, folks.