Are VPNs the internet’s saving grace?

It’s 2018, and people are just awakening to the fact privacy is an illusion. The increasing effort by international governments to decrypt the internet means that internet privacy is no longer an entitlement but the contrary, it’s now illegal for corporates to withhold requested information in certain countries. Law enforcement and intelligence services are arming themselves with new interception and surveillance powers to surveil the world. Tragically, we’re seeing a boost in mass surveillance post-Snowden instead of a cessation; and now that it’s publicly known, governments are no longer sweeping it under the rug. In the name of national security, the price paid by and I is privacy.

The good thing is, a VPN promises to shield you from snooping and tracking. It’s a Swiss Army Knife of a tool that helps you regain control of not only what information is shared and with whom, but also what content you can access and how quickly it loads.

What is a VPN?

A VPN (virtual private network) is a software that forms a secure tunnel between two or more devices from the moment the user is connected to the internet. VPNs can be used to protect web traffic from third-party interference, snooping and hacking. It also bypasses geoblocks to uncensor restricted content. VPNs can also act as a proxy, allowing you to surf the web anonymously and change your virtual location. That means a VPN can do a lot more than protecting privacy, it also works to ensure security, uncensor content, and speed up the internet.

Say NO to censorship

Another powerful application of a VPN is uncensoring content blocked by geo-restrictions. The ability to bypass restrictions and censorship is extremely empowering to people living in censorship countries. To these individuals, a VPN cracks open a window to the world by helping to overcome the country’s firewall, allowing access to the news publication sites and the citizen journalism on social media.

Encryption speeds up your connection

Recall a time when you had to pause a video to wait for it to load? The slow connection speed could be due to the distance between you and the overseas hosting server, but it’s equally plausible that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is throttling your bandwidth. Bandwidth-throttling is a common way that ISPs regulate data usage. Often, they sanction a user’s data flow when they’re watching a video, torrenting or engaging in other data-heavy activities. A VPN allows users to overcome bandwidth-throttling by encrypting their traffic so that their ISP cannot decipher what the user is doing, effectively barring throttling which speeds up loading speed.

Why should YOU use a VPN?

A VPN has many more other daily uses. A business owner who runs an online business for example, relies on his or her website and other digital infrastructures to engage customers, receive orders and market the brand. If the site is compromised, or if the customers’ personal data is stolen, it can cost the owner his or her entire business. With a VPN in place, the risk is hugely mitigated as all traffic to and from the computer and the website is secured by data encryption, making it impenetrable to malicious third-parties.

A VPN’s multiple uses make it indispensable to netizens with different needs all over the world. It’s no wonder that the industry is booming, with the market generating over $15 billion in revenue in 2016 alone. The introduction of VPN has given users around the world all the power, forming what is essentially a shield that protects the user’s information and allows them to safeguard their data and sensitive information. Everyone is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and government spying. Be an informed netizen, understand the risks you’ve been exposed to and invest in the tools that make your online experience freer and more secure.