ONCE UPON A TIME, privacy was a fundamental right. But things have changed. Thanks to the advent of the internet, we (often unwittingly) share details of our lives online. All it takes is a simple search, or a website visit, and your actions are automatically collected, tracked and analyzed.
What's more, it's commonplace today for governments and companies to gather our personal information from various online sources. This data, while innocuous as individual snippets, is often collected en masse, sold to the highest bidder, and then used without our consent.
Any and all information you generate while browsing the web is fair game. Corporations frequently use this data to maximize their reach, and when they’re done, they pass it on. Before you know it, your information is everywhere, and with so much of it floating about in cyberspace, efforts to keep your digital activity anonymous become nearly impossible. As a result, online privacy is now of paramount importance.
Absolutely. Using a virtual private network (VPN) service, such as Mullvad, is a good first step to safeguarding your browsing information from being gathered by others and used without your consent. Together with the private browsing function on your browser, VPNs help keep your online activity from being tracked and analysed.
Good VPNs enforce a policy of never logging data; they also encrypt personal information and mask the user’s actual IP address by replacing it with another. Not only does this protect a user’s data, but it also keeps his or her online activity, identity, and location private, thwarting virtual eavesdroppers, from Wi-fi hackers to government mass surveillance.
However, a VPN is not a single-step solution. Fully protecting your online privacy is also about changing your habits to increase the effectiveness of such tools. To learn more about protecting your online presence, and how VPNs work, visit our First steps toward online privacy.