Friday, 6 November 2009

Internet users take privacy into their own hands

The (UK) police and intelligence services are calling on the Government to drop plans to disconnect persistent internet pirates because they fear that this would make it harder to track criminals online
Source: The Times via ORG

If evidence from Sweden is anything to go by it could soon be the case that that horse has bolted. Torrent Freak report on an article ths week in Dagens Nyheter (in swedsh) on the rapid growth of 'anonymising' services - mostly the use of  'virtual private networks' (VPNs) to hide a user's IP address.  A survey of 15-25 year olds found that an estimated 130 000 users in this age group are already using privacy services to surf online.  The survey authors estimated that as much a 6 or 7% of the populaton at large could be doing the same - and the survey also showed that up to 55% surveyed intend to use this type of service if  laws against filesharing are strengthened.

There are many reasons for wanting privacy in your communications - and users don't need to justify why they want privacy - it is a right.  Equally clearly, when users see that government is not protectig their rights they will take the ball into their own court at take steps to protect it themselves.

So if you are not doing it already...  what's it all about?
Using a VPN provides an encrypted secure connection from your PC to a server on the net - at which point the IP address you got from your internet service provider is changed for another anonymous one.  Which means.
  • Your ISP can't see where you surf - or what type of traffic they are carrying for you -surfing, VOIP, filetransfers - all look the same - encrypted...
  • Unless you register on sites you are anonymous when you surf. (Most sites collect the IP addresses of people using the site).
  • You get safer surfing from WiFi hotspots and on your home wireless LAN. Encryption means your traffic can't be read 'off air' - to e.g to snoop or hack passwords.
  • VPNs can usually be used from within firewalls - letting you surf to sites that might otherwise be blocked.
  • If you choose a supplier from another country you will appear to be surfng from that country.... useful if you regularly use sites that restrict content depending on where you are.  (Some suppliers give the option to switch)
  • and it only costs around £5/50kr a month..
Finding a supplier is easy.  Searching for Anonymous surf VPN gives lots of hits.  Here is a very small selection... (but you need to find one that suites you)
UK                  UKiVPN
Sweden      Relakks
or for a bit of everything....  Hide My Ass

You might want to check
  • what encryption do they use?
  • where are they based?
  • is my account or payment traceable back to me?
  • underwhat circumstances can they be obliged to release data to authorities?
  • what data do they store that they could be asked to hand over?
Privacy is your right

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

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