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After Congress’s controversial internet privacy ruling here’s how you can protect yourself online.
The Republican controlled Congress has controversially voted to repeal all privacy restrictions governing the online activity of American citizens. This means that once the law comes into effect that all online data will be open to sale to private companies. Understandably, this has caused a great deal of concern and has triggered a conversation about protecting one’s privacy when online. The most effective solution to protect privacy from unwanted snooping eyes is to set up a VPN.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows users to create an encrypted connection to the internet which makes it more difficult for third parties to access the information uploaded and downloaded. It can also be used to manipulate one’s IP address so that material blocked in one country can be accessed via a foreign IP address. In China, this is how Facebook can be accessed.
According to Quincy Larson, a teacher at Free Code Camp, the easiest way to set up a VPN is to download the Opera browser. Once the browser is up and running, the ad blocker needs to be turned on along with the VPN. This will allow the user to download a program called HTTPS Everywhere which will allow them to browse the Internet using an encrypted HTTPS format.
Another method is to pay for a monthly VP service such as F-Secure Freedome or Private Internet Access which will allow the user to use an encrypted network across their various devices. The more costly VPNs also come with a ‘kill switch’ which will immediately terminate chosen programs if the connection happens to become unstable.
Perhaps the most effective (but extreme) method available is the Tor browser which works by bouncing the internet connection between different users from all over the world. While Tor is known for being practically untraceable, the Verge has noted that it “can be a much slower, less convenient browsing experience than most people are used to.”
Whichever method is ‘best’ depends largely on personal choice, but no matter what method Americans choose to prevent their privacy being invaded one thing is for sure; the need to protect online privacy has never been greater.