Privacy 101: Why you need a VPN

“Earlier this week, the Republican-led Congress voted to repeal FCC rules that blocked ISPs from selling your data to third parties without permission,” Evan Dashevsky writes for PC Magazine. “The vote largely fell along party lines, and President Trump is expected to sign the joint resolution, S.J. Res 34.”

“Just about all your online data is automatically scraped, organized, and sold to advertisers so they can micro-tailor their sales pitches. This very profitable business model is how Google and Facebook have amassed astounding fortunes despite the fact that they give their products away for free,” Dashevsky writes. “And now your ISP can get in the Big Data game as well.”

“New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the move reverses ‘privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies,'” Dashevsky writes. “The subtext of the chairman’s comment being that he believes the previous administration crafted rules to support Democratic-friendly Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google, while blocking out less-favored corporations like home cable/internet providers.”

“One of the best ways to secure your data is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which provides greater control of how you’re identified online. Simply put, a VPN creates a virtual encrypted ‘tunnel’ between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service,” Dashevsky writes. “All external internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your ISP can’t see your data. If the site you’re heading to uses HTTPS, your data stays encrypted, too. Best of all, your computer appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s loss of influence over the U.S. federal government is a Very Good Thing™ for competition.

We use TunnelBear’s VPN service (especially while using public Wi-Fi) and they offer unlimited data for $49.99 billed yearly which is less than $4.17/month.

Why Congress’s rejection of proposed FCC data rules will not affect your privacy in the slightest – March 31, 2017
Congress to US citizens: Online privacy isn’t dead, those who want it will just have to pay for it – March 30, 2017
U.S. Congress sends repeal of FCC broadband privacy rules to President Trump for signature – March 29, 2017
Congress votes to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules – March 28, 2017
U.S. Senate votes to overturn Internet privacy rules – March 23, 2017

Under President Trump, Obama ally Google may face policy setbacks, including roll back of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 18, 2016
Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party – November 16, 2016
WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010


  1. A problem with VPNs is that they are slow. Even the fast ones are slow, the rest are glacial. So if you do use one, you say goodby to the fastest speeds your device, and service, offers. It’s not a great substitue for proper privacy safeguards that republicans have now stripped away.

    1. Depends on the VPN.

      Also, it’s good to see that the effort to return the FCC to what it’s intended to be is proceeding nicely.

      “What America needs is one standard across the internet ecosystem and the Federal Trade Commission is the best place for that standard.” – Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

      Don’t fall for silly headlines from the MSM and uninformed tech sites that are easily manipulated by leftist activist groups. Such headlines and articles are designed to bait you. Republicans aren’t “evil.” Republicans simply want one standard — under the FTC, not the FCC — as opposed to the inconsistent and confusing, unfair, pro-Google mess that the Google-backed Obama left behind.

      1. I just want government out of my business period! Don’t tell me what I should do, think or say. They are elected to uphold the law, provide security, create a fertile environment for the economy to prosper while being fiscally responsible. They are not elected to be my moral compass!

        1. Sounds like by definition they are your moral compass….

          ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organ…’

        2. Be thankful I chip in to help pave the road so you don’t have to rely on rutted wagon trails. I am thankful there is an administration providing you and I that and a thousand more things you take for granted.

          Nobody in any western democracy is telling you what to think or say. Thankfully at least you recognize that telling people what the reasonable limits are/living with rules instead of a tribal survival of the physically strongest is necessary. By any measure, rules make for better long term outcomes.
          Better to wish for effective efficient government than small weak government. Why? Just substitute the word military for the word government and the right wingers will have provided all the reasons to increase taxpayer spending.

          Then in the next breath they will demand that the oldest weakest and sickest citizens that military is supposed to protect should suffer with rules that protect the wealthy only. Feudalism is alive and well.

    1. Sure, go ahead and believe that crap. We can block whatever Google and site do with Ad blockers, and other methods. They know that at this new FCC we’ve got. But it won’t easily be blocked with isps. As I mentioned, VPNs slow everything down. So they’re good for something where speed isn’t important, but everything else works like molasses. A VPN is good when you’re somewhere you can’t trust a public WiFi network

      1. Oh, you can bet that ISPs are clamouring to update their Terms of Service so that you must agree to such info selling before starting (or continuing) to use their services.

        Remember, they can update the ToS on you anytime, with sufficient notice, and continuing to use the service is tacit approval of the updated ToS.

      2. While this is true on the surface, the reality is that Google and FB et al are continuously ‘updating’ their privacy policies. Historically this has made such ‘opt in/out’ options irrelevant. The EFF has struggled with this very concept against Google at the public education level.

    2. No, Brutal Truth, I would prefer that people retain some reasonable degree of privacy rights in this world.

      If the GOP rationale is that the Obama rules would have benefitted “…one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies…,” then the obvious solution is to craft a law/rule that achieves the privacy objective with greater equality.

      However, I should not have to point out that ISPs and other companies like Google and Facebook are quite different. I need a pipeline to get to the internet, and I only have two choices even though I live in a large suburban area. The ISPs are data pipes and have really become a modern utility like electricity or water. I would rather have my phone calls invaded than my internet traffic, not that I am willing to concede my right to privacy on either one.

      I can (and do) avoid using Google. I have a very minimal presence on Facebook – I have posted very little information and I seldom access my account. I try to avoid bad websites. I send 95% of my mail to the junk folder and *never* click on an embedded link without very careful research. I use ad blockers and cookie blockers and other techniques to try to make it a bit more difficult for the data aggregators.

      The biggest reasons that Apple captured and has retained my business over the previous decades is because the company remains focused on the customer experience and appears to sincerely respect my personal privacy. If Apple were to disappear and I had to switch to Wintel and Android, then I would suddenly feel terribly vulnerable.

      So this is a *big* fricking deal to me and many other people.

      1. Agreed. If ISPs get to share our private data then shouldn’t the power company be able to query what devices we are using the power for and send us advertising for those products? And the water and sewage “UTILITIES” could see what we’re doing with the water and what goes down the drain to sell that data. They could tell what kind of plants and grass we have, if we have a pool and hot tub and they can analyze our sewer for drugs, alcohol and diseases and what shampoo we use and sell that info to marketers. The ISPs are pipes like you say and they should just shuffle the bits for us and that’s all. Why not craft new FTC rules first if they really wanted to protect us and then do away with the FCC control if the Federal COMMUNICATIONS Commission is not the one to manage COMMUNICATIONS over the Internet.

    3. That is not at all what the “libtards” on this board are saying at all, and you know it. The question is whether the paying customer has, by law, the option of privacy. Any reader of the Constitution would agree that that was one of the major intents of the Bill of Rights, but the bought-and-paid for republican party has decided that customers should not have any privacy rights online.

      A good bill would treat Facebook, Google, and ISPs identically — it would force them to disclose exactly what data they collect from users, require written consent to start collecting data, and give the paying customer a share of the proceeds from the sale of his private info.

      Pretending that this is a competition between ISPs and Google is pathetic political deflection.

  2. MDN take: “Google’s loss of influence over the U.S. federal government is a Very Good Thing™ for competition.”

    Agree, but … Sanity’s loss of influence over the U.S. federal government is a very bad thing (it’s big; it’s huge) for most Americans and the world. Sad.

  3. It is noteworthy, that while OBP has not signed-off on this bill as yet, the Obama bill had never went into effect. So, actually, nothing has changed. Individual defenses against unwanted data collection is the best route, in my opinion. Virtual Personal Networks with high encryption are very effective.

    1. It is noteworthy that had the Obama rule gone into effect, then personal privacy would actually have *improved* rather than maintaining the flawed status quo.

      It is so like you (and Trump) to take credit for not changing something as an improvement, much in the same way that “not losing a job” is somehow the same as actually “creating” a job. Or that infrastructure investments and jobs created as the result of Obama actions in 2012-2013 are somehow due to Trump.

      A VPN is a good defense for a person’s privacy on the internet. But we should not be forced to use a VPN to protect ourselves from our ISPs! The dumb pipe should keep its hands off of my data. Do you want FedEx opening your boxes? Do you want the Post Office reading your letters? That is the freaking point, and that is why I also despise Google and similar companies who collect and sell my data.

        1. I didn’t say you did, botty. Why did you focus on the last sentence? The rest of the post refutes your prior statements and position on the core subject of ISPs and the merits of the pending GOP action.

        2. Obviously you don’t want the companies selling YOUR data, so you use VPN. You don’t give two fuks about the rest of the world. They’re not as smart as you so fuk them. Let the companies profit on something you yourself would t divulge. Ah, the republican way.

          This, my friend, is the core left vs right argument. I actually give a shit about my woefully unpreppared friends, family, and strangers. In some ways, they matter even more than me, because without them, I would have nothing.

    1. It is a good idea. Apple could help to protect my privacy beyond the confines of my Mac or iPhone.

      botty, have you noticed that you get a lot of down votes, even when you agree with a post that got a lot of up votes? A reasonable person would conclude that you are disliked by many people on this forum, and that your ideas are not nearly as mainstream or favored as you would like to believe.

      1. A rational person would surmise that 535 downvotes from a previous post of mine within 18 minutes would naturally conclude that the vote is not about popularity of the comment but from a robot employed to attempt to bias perception.

        as you well know…but, again, I prefaced this response with “a rational person” so don’t take that personally.

        1. Ha! Nice try. But your status as MDN troll will never end, just the way you like it. I mean, how many years have we all had to put up with your imflamatory asshole comments? Too long. But I know you fuking love stirring the pot, so it ain’t changing. I bet people love being around you in the real world.

        2. The most plausible reason for an event is the most probable. I suggest that your behavior here bottvinnik is resented by just about everyone. if you care so much about your popularity, you ought to have a deep conversation with yourself. Would you want to have a discussion with a person like you? Make a change and maybe people will respect your ideas.

  4. The Republicans admitted during the debate about S.J.R 34 in the House that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) does NOT have the power to protect Internet user’s privacy. Therefore, this resolution is a very REAL removal of citizen’s privacy rights on the Internet. It would take another law to give the FTC privacy protection ability.

    THEREFORE: If you do not want to give away your privacy on the Internet to you ISP (Internet Service Provider) and hence to the highest bidder, YOU REQUIRE A VPN (Virtual Private Network). It’s the single best way to take your ISP out of the equation, to prevent them from watching what you do on the net, as is the right of every US citizen as per the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

    And yes, S.J.R. 34 is 100% UNCONSTITUTIONAL and lawsuits are already being prepared. That’s one reason why I gladly donate to the EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Their lawyers will be taking this affront to citizen’s right by the throat and throttling it until it’s dead, as it should be.

    Now a moment of silence to curse the ReTardlicans who perpetrated S.J.R. 34…

    1. Repealing Broadband Privacy Rules, Congress Sides with the Cable and Telephone Industry

      While today is extremely disappointing, there is still tomorrow. Without a doubt Internet providers (with the exception of the small providers who stood with us) will engage in egregious practices, and we are committed to mobilizing the public to push back. EFF will continue the fight to restore our privacy rights on all fronts. We will fight to restore your privacy rights in the courts, in the states, in Washington, D.C., and with technology. We are prepared for the long haul of pushing a future Congress to reverse course and once again side with the public.

      1. Another layer of BS.

        Since the FCC’s rule was announced ISPs have been planning and working toward implementing it. In preparation most have been safeguarding individuals’ information or purposely not tracking it.

        Just because the deadline to be 100% compliant had not passed does not mean ISPs and others were not already complying or on their way toward full compliance.

        Now they know they get free use of everyone’s data. Now they are figuring out how to use and profit from that data. Now they are likely tracking and storing (or actively working toward implement ways to start tracking and storing) all of their users’ data.

        Saying that nothing has changed is pure BS. A lot has changed and will continue to change as time moves forward.

        1. Don’t know about that. Comcast and AT&T came out today and said that nothing has changed with their policies. In fact, each of them at least paid lip service to their desires to reassure their customers that they don’t sell data, and they’ll update their privacy policies to reflect that.

        2. According to the Comcast press release, it will not sell your data. But they do not guarantee privacy nor do they promise that your data will not be shared with Comcast affiliates and partners.

          Comcast, you should know, already runs an ad agency and it uses data collected from you already to push targeted ads. Almost all ISPs already do this.

          What the telecom lobby accomplished this month is to convince the republitards (see how effective juvenile troll-like labels are?) that Google is evil for datamining to support freebieware because the majority of end consumers will do anything for something that has no out-of-pocket expenses, the ISPs needed to have a special dispensation to also datamine and make more money on top of the subscription income they already earn.

          To put it another way: when cable TV was introduced, customers were promised that with subscriptions, they could finally enjoy ad-free television. Look how long that lasted.

          I will say it again: the purpose of government is to protect the citizen from abuse and rights impingement. We can see clearly which political party is for sale to the highest bidder. The other party isn’t even smart enough to take the highest bid, but at leasy they called this one right. Your privacy should matter to you. The Hypocritical self-proclaimed conservatives here can stop pasting pro-republican propaganda, we all see that you are too busy playing partisan politics to care about individual rights.

      2. … The ReTardlican line. Except darn! I watched the entire S.J.R. 34 debate and know full well that you’re either ignorant or a liar!

        Corporatocracy in action. Verizon, AT&T, Comcast ad nauseam perpetrated S.J.R. 34. With half a brain, anyone can figure out why:

        The customer is the product.
        AKA: User Abuse.

        Sound familiar?

    2. Derek,

      Yes. The FTC currently does not have the legal authority to regulate the use of an Internet user’s private information. Yet, the thought that Congress can pass a bill and the President can sign it into law that gives Internet user’s privacy rights similar to, or more pervasive than, the prior rule that is being struck down is just lunacy.

      Before any law of that kind could go into effect dozens of ISPs and related organizations would sue the Federal government to stop it on the grounds that it’s outside the FTC’s basic oversight. They’ll claim (and likely win) on the grounds that the Internet is a communications medium and thus any regulations governing use of information being transmitted through the Internet must come under the FCC’s oversight.

      Many of the businesses backing and advising those members of the House and Senate to make these moves are pushing the ruse about the FTC as they know they can win to stop anything from ever being implemented that way. It buys them a few more years of lawlessness at the very least. (Assuming any such law and subsequent implementing regulation at the FTC ever gets instantiated anyway, which is unlikely in and of itself.)

      As to the law being unconstitutional… That holds as much water as the theory that Squeeky From had multiple accomplices. There are extremely few things in lawmaking that is truly unconstitutional. This is not one of them.

      The EFF’s lawyers are pretty smart. They can fight this and likely win. But, if their whole premise for fighting it is based upon the theory that it is unconstitutional (and I’m confident it’s not), they’ll lose.

      The U.S. Constitution has many, many specifics as to how the U.S. Government must recognized an individual’s rights including privacy and control of their own assets (and we can posit that private information is one of those assets), but it has no such declarations about non governmental entities (e.g., businesses). Those restrictions are all extrapolations by laws and the courts over the past 220+ years.

      Loudly declaring that SJ Res. 34 is unconstitutional only weakens your overall argument. None of us need your argument weakened.

      1. The only way I see the EFF winning this battle is with sweeping privacy legislation. Ostensibly, the ripple effect of such legislation would diminish the business models of Google, et al. I don’t see this happening, as the EFF has been unsuccessful thus far at changing ANYTHING regarding Google’s business practices with Chromebooks in our public education institutions. Google’s lobby is just to big and too important to many in Congress.

      2. It buys them a few more years of lawlessness at the very least.

        Oh yes. Lawsuits against this assault on Fourth Amendment privacy rights have already been kindled via a few different directions. And they will take years. Money will be made while the US Constitution gets trampled by the corporatocracy.

        NOTE: Your point that the US Constitution is specific to restraining governmental action is actually MY POINT! The crime isn’t even remotely about the relationship between companies and their customers. As mezmerized propaganda victims ironically, correctly point out: At that level, nothing has changed. But at the government level, both the US federal legislature and the executive branch have taken the direction action to BREAK the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. That had no right to do so. They committed treason. I’d gladly see them all prosecuted. They have no right to compromise the privacy rights of citizens, which is exactly the full on effect of S.J.R. 34, and the Republicans obviously know it. That was the entire point of this legislation: My government handing over My privacy to corporations.

        It could not be more clear.

        But propaganda does drone on and on.

        The FCC got it right. The ReTardlicans deliberately got it wrong. They admitted that to be the case when they were forced into a corner to point out that further law would be required to actually GIVE the FTC any ability to protect Internet user privacy.

        • FCC privacy action: Constitutional

        • Republican resolution to remove the FCC’s privacy action: UNconstitutional.

        Those are the facts, as will prevail in court… years from now.

        I call this current rendition of Republicans the ReTardlicans for a very direct and applicable reason. My country’s government has never been more sick. And I foolishly thought it couldn’t get worse than ‘Dubya’ and ‘Obamanation’. I forgot about: Idiocracy as a real.

        [Yes, future viewers. A lot of us refuse to walk gently into this horror show night. We aren’t all stupid little pawns and windup Bots]

  5. botvirnnik,

    I’ve been around this site long enough to remember Sputnik who use to extol the virtues of Windows with a huge tongue in his/her cheek. Many of the posters got sucked in and attacked the posts and many of us had a great big laugh.

    You on the other hand are just an irritation. Kind of like the doobie you scrape off your shoe that your dog left as a reminder of a great meal that had just past through its plumbing.

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