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The Pros And Cons Of Using A VPN Or Proxy Service

The Pros And Cons Of Using A VPN

You don't know and can't know if you're being watched. The point is that you could be.

Since long before the Wikileaks and Edward Snowden events, credible information had trickled into the public eye about governments' electronic surveillance of citizens. Do some reading on ECHELON. Look up Carnivore and its less threateningly named successor, DCS1000. The technology to monitor your online communications is real; only the knowledge of whether those communications are being collected and examined remains in dispute. Of course, that's just the government. The question of whether and how much companies, from your ISP to discount retailers, examine your activities is a whole different can of worms.

Your privacy is under threat. That may not be an immediate reason for alarm, but if the thought makes you uneasy, you may want to turn to a virtual private network (VPN) service for help. Like most things, there are good and evil ways to use a VPN, and even the good ways may not always be legal. We're not here to judge or advocate, only inform. In the following article, we'll examine the technology of VPN services, assess their role in today’s world, and examine a few of the market’s top subscription-based contenders.


MORE: VPN Services in the Forums

  • 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