By Quandary Peak Research
In a recent piece on internet privacy legislation, Quandary Peak’s editorial team addressed the Congressional vote in March to overturn Obama-era internet privacy laws. In short, the new law gives telecommunications companies greater flexibility in how they can track, collect, and sell customer data. From a consumer standpoint, the implications of this legislation may largely depend on one’s Internet Service Provider (ISP)’s specific policies – and whether those policies may change as a result of the new law.
In reality, a majority of consumers will be unaware and/or indifferent to this shifting landscape in online privacy rules. But for those increasingly concerned about the issue, part of the narrative has shifted to whether VPNs (virtual private networks) can be a potential solution for restoring a lost layer of privacy.
VPNs have long been used by businesses to allow employees in remote/foreign locations to connect to a business’s private computer network. VPNs have steadily become more mainstream for private citizens, but remain unfamiliar to a vast swath of internet users. This unfamiliarity begs a number of questions: what, exactly, are VPNs? What are their advantages and disadvantages? Are any VPNs a cut above the rest? And, if a person is concerned about their online privacy, is a VPN an adequate solution?
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and How Does it Work?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that allows a user to connect to the internet over a public network as if it were a private network. A common analogy is to consider a tunnel that links a user’s computer directly to a server operated by the VPN provider. When a request is sent for information (like entering a website address), it is ‘funneled’ through the VPN’s secure connection, and the information is sent back through the same private […]