Personal Versus Corporate VPN Account Against Government Spying

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Alvin Bryan

Alvin Bryan is a freelance writer and online privacy enthusiast enthusiast currently contributing quality tips and troubleshooting on personal VPN services, and online privacy and security news. You can also find him on Google +.

VPN Account PrivacyThe technology needed to secure user privacy exists. But sadly, Internet companies are more likely to concede to sharing data when powerful entities request it. More users have signed up for VPN accounts to anonymize their online activities in the wake of perceived privacy violations. But how much can a VPN account really help?

What Users Fear

Ever since we read the news about government spying, we have all been concerned about what pieces of personal data they are looking at, and how much of it they have access to. Privacy is very important to people, and they are now all looking for ways to preserve it in the face of these new threats. Many users have moved over to using private search engines and email services in place of the services that were revealed to have been sharing user data with government agencies. But they fear that other online companies may also be involved and want to find a way to protect their data from being shared without their knowledge or permission. VPN account sign-ups have peaked since the news of massive online surveillance surfaced. But some users still fear that VPN accounts cannot protect them from snooping.

VPN Account SecureWhen private email provider Lavabit decided to shut down operations, people thought it was an isolated case. Lavabit refused to share user data with the government because it conflicted with their privacy policy and the level of data security they had promised their users. When they were pressured to do so, they opted instead to close. This is not the only entity that has stood up for users and faced pressure and threats for resisting demands to share data. The Guardian and Yahoo have shared their stories and more online services are also admitting that they are being wedged between a rock and a hard place on the issue of data privacy. Sadly, most internet companies are more likely to give in to requests for user data than they are to shut down to prevent data from being taken. VPN companies are no different. Signing up for a VPN account entails researching the VPN provider’s stand on online user privacy.

How VPN Accounts Can Help

It is important for Internet users to understand what a VPN account can do for them so that they can avoid disappointment. VPN accounts are not magical solutions to online snooping and network hacking. But they can be useful if used properly in combination with other online security measures. The question is whether a VPN account can really protect users from government snooping. Not all VPN accounts and services are alike, and the technology in general is not unbreakable with the right tools and other resources.

VPN Account PrivateVPN accounts honestly can be hacked. But it takes a great amount of money and technology to do so. In most cases, it is too much trouble to do so. This is why agencies went after online services for data gathering rather than trying to get all the data from ISPs or individual users. So having a VPN account can be effective in preventing data snooping. But it depends on which VPN provider we are talking about. Some providers are truly privacy conscious while others will lull users into a false sense of security.

Some VPN providers have been known to share data with the authorities for different reasons. Others have been known to share user data with advertisers and data brokers as well to augment their income so they can continue to provide free services. Choosing a reliable VPN provider is then what spells the difference between true online anonymity and just another false sense of privacy. Just like other services such as Skype, Gmail and Facebook, the security of user data on VPN servers depends on what data is stored there and how resistant the VPN company is to sharing that data.

All VPN companies store some amount of user data for some period of time. This is necessary for them to troubleshoot connections and maintain their network. But they only need to look at data on connection speeds and connection quality, not names and websites visited. And they do not need to keep that data for longer than a couple of weeks. So any company that stores personal user data for prolonged periods is not using it for the improvement of their services. Some laws dictate that criminal activities be reported. Make sure that the VPN provider you are looking at is clear on these policies and that they will inform you of any changes. Check the VPN provider’s privacy policy and confirm the details of data storage and reporting through their customer service hotline. If you are not satisfied, move on to the next provider.

Secure VPN AccountCheck also what data, if any, from your VPN account the VPN provider might share with third parties. If you cannot get a straight answer as to how and where they are using your data, you should be wary of signing up with them. Many websites also share advertising data, so check what websites you visit and what services you use. They may be the culprits causing the leak in your personal data. A VPN account is useless even if it keeps your activities anonymous if your personal data is being shared by the websites you visit and the online services you use.

Protecting online privacy has never been more necessary nor more difficult that it is today. But it is still possible is users take care. Choose your online services carefully and do not share personal data freely.

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