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The Pros And Cons Of Using A VPN Or Proxy Service

Can You Trust The VPN Service?

VPN services can shield your identity from service providers, but can the VPN providers themselves see your identity? If so, can they be forced to turn it and your activities over to authorities when legally demanded to do so?

"We try our best to ensure that proper legal process is followed for all law enforcement requests," says London Trust Media’s Ted Kim. "Further, we do not know your IP address nor ask for any other private information about you when you sign up at Private Internet Access, except for an email address to confirm your account. While service providers may have your specific IP address, the systems Private Internet Access has in place makes it virtually impossible for a service provider to prove a particular IP address definitively accessed a separate destination point through our network."

What about in situations where a new deanonymizing tool arises, such as the brouhaha that blew up recently over Cisco's Netflow being able to identify Tor users with disturbing proficiency?

"IP traffic is very difficult to trace, but, given sufficient resources it can be done," says Kim. "However, there are ways to stay more anonymous and therefore be untraced if, by the same token, sufficient resources are deployed to anonymize oneself."

A note about privacy: TorGuard CEO Ben Van Pelt notes that one of the big misconceptions about privacy is the assumption that those employing it must be hiding something. "This statement couldn’t be more inaccurate," he says. "If this was true, then I assume just because you are a law abiding citizen there should be no problem with installing a camera in your shower. Pivacy is an essential human right, one that reinforces our very own humanity through dignity, freedom of speech and freedom of association."

  • PaulBags
    Eh. In NZ, I'm pretty sure the tics bill made it illegal to sell vpn service that the gcsb doesn't already have a back door to. I could possibly source a service from outside the country, but it will likely throw up a flag & be traceable back to me anyway, just because they can't see what's in the tunnel doesn't mean they can't see the tunnel.

    I figure I'm better off being unassuming. They can't read _everything_, might as well stay in the open and be protected by the masses & luck.

    Of course, I have nothing worth hiding...
    Reply
  • heffeque
    Eh. In NZ, I'm pretty sure the tics bill made it illegal to sell vpn service that the gcsb doesn't already have a back door to. I could possibly source a service from outside the country, but it will likely throw up a flag & be traceable back to me anyway, just because they can't see what's in the tunnel doesn't mean they can't see the tunnel.

    I figure I'm better off being unassuming. They can't read _everything_, might as well stay in the open and be protected by the masses & luck.

    Of course, I have nothing worth hiding...
    We've gotten used to governments from all over the world spying on us.

    Sad that things have come to this.
    Reply
  • knowom
    VPN for security and proxy for performance & content filtering.
    Reply
  • rayden54
    @heffeque
    No, the sad part is that people ever thought there was such a thing as privacy on the internet. When I was a kid people knew better.

    People shouting from the rooftops shouldn't get to be surprised when someone listens in. It isn't even spying when you're the one broadcasting the information.
    Reply
  • Reepca
    @heffeque
    No, the sad part is that people ever thought there was such a thing as privacy on the internet. When I was a kid people knew better.

    People shouting from the rooftops shouldn't get to be surprised when someone listens in. It isn't even spying when you're the one broadcasting the information.

    I suppose the real question is why our only mode of efficient communication is shouting from the rooftops. Someone should do something about that...
    Reply
  • razor512
    Unless you are running your own VPN server, you can be sure that any paid VPN service will log just enough information in order to be able to link your actions back to your IP address.

    If they did not, then they would be liable for the traffic for their customers. Imagine if a customer of the paid VPN service, decided to do something highly illegal like downloading or distributing child pornography. The VPN service will have enough bits and pieces logged in order to know which customer generated the illegal traffic.

    They literally cannot do otherwise without becoming a safe heaven for crime, or or providing criminals at least a criminals with a 1 time free pass to do something highly illegal. Furthermore it can also be interpreted as allowing someone to mask their own illegal activity by blaming it on the customers who they are not logging the traffic of.

    Overall, the VPN services will log information for their own network management needs, but you can bet that it is enough for them to figure out who did what on their network if the government comes knocking.
    (They may not all be explicitly recording your session, but there is going to be enough logged to essentially allow them to rebuild the details session if they wanted to)
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Eh. In NZ, I'm pretty sure the tics bill made it illegal to sell vpn service that the gcsb doesn't already have a back door to. I could possibly source a service from outside the country, but it will likely throw up a flag & be traceable back to me anyway, just because they can't see what's in the tunnel doesn't mean they can't see the tunnel.

    I figure I'm better off being unassuming. They can't read _everything_, might as well stay in the open and be protected by the masses & luck.

    Of course, I have nothing worth hiding...
    We've gotten used to governments from all over the world spying on us.

    Sad that things have come to this.
    I acknowledge the reality, that doesn't mean I'm okay with it. I just see no point in fighting when no-one else will stand up by my side. I'm fine with the idea of even armed revolution, but if I stand up alone I'm just going to get chopped down. Better to smile & nod & bow, and enjoy what little freedom and comfort I have; and be ignored by the big power wielding entities.
    Reply
  • Vosgy
    "Australians will have two years of their metadata stored by phone and internet providers after the Abbott government's controversial data retention laws passed Parliament."

    Yay for Australia, cost of Internet is already too high, now with go up more as the ISPs need to store years of data and will pass that cost on to the consumer. Loose loose for the consumer.

    Damn backward country I live in.
    Reply
  • otokomae
    I'd really love to see a "VPN for Gaming Guide" or something like that, as many people use them and other, similar-sounding services to reduce lag or latency when playing online games.
    Reply
  • ctsboss
    Here is the real question, Can I use a VPN or Proxy to fool Pokerstars or Full Tilt into believing that I am NOT inside the US and allow me access and play on the site? I have heard of some people using this solution instead of actually moving to canada or mexico to play?
    Reply