You don’t need anyone else to tell you why has it become extremely important that you use a VPN service whenever you go online.
Part of the reason is that internet service providers have ramped up their efforts to collect and then sell your online metadata by, like, a thousand folds.
The news broke out in Australia on April 18, 2017, or as some folks would like to call it Good Friday news.
Well, there is nothing “good” about the fact that Australian internet service providers along with telecommunication companies (much like in the USA) will collect user metadata from now onwards.
And the worst part is that, even if they didn’t want to collect data, to begin with (which is obviously not true), internet service providers and telecommunication companies will now have to do so officially.
There is no other way.
All of the metadata associated with your online communications will not be within the reach of internet service providers and telecommunication companies.
Yes. Internet Service Providers And Australian Telecommunications Companies Will Now Be Required To Collect Metadata Officially.
There is no other way around it.
For users as well as internet service providers and telecom companies.
In short, the new legislation says so and hence there isn’t anything anyone else can do about it.
But what does metadata include?
Does it mean that all your communications along with other types of content will be collected and recorded?
But user metadata does include a lot of information that you would want to keep to yourself rather than give up to your internet service provider.
In either case, there is nothing you can do about it now since it has become the law.
Except if you sign up for a VPN service and hide yourself from not only your internet service provider but also from big telecom and marketing companies.
IPVanish is the VPN service that we recommend because it is just flawless when it comes to hiding your online presence and keeping your data safe.
What Does Metadata Include?
It encompasses lots of things.
Let’s go through them in order.
First of all, the new legislation will require ISPs and telecom companies to collect,
- Name of the user
- Address of the user
- Date of birth of the user
- The email address. That makes sense right?
- Other pieces of information that could be used to identify online users.
All information will be of the user who holds the related account though
Apart from that, internet service providers will also collect details regarding the user’s online communications.
This collection of data will include,
- The form of communication. Such as email, SMS, forum, social media, chat or voice
- Related physical location of the user.
Both are the start and at the end of the communication session
- Address of the receiver
- Other details of the person who receives the communication from the user
- Details about the network used by the user for online communication.
Examples include Wi-Fi, VoIP, cable, and ADSL amongst many others
Is There Anything That Metadata Does Not Include?
By now you must be wondering if we should stop using the term metadata and simply give it to you to your face that internet service providers will just collect everything about everyone.
Well, indeed that is not the case.
But what does metadata not include?
Is there any piece of information that internet service providers don’t want?
Or more specifically, why wouldn’t the lawmakers in Australia not want to record everything there is to record?
The reasons for that are many and this is probably not the place to discuss them.
But we will tell you what metadata does not include.
Metadata does not include any information on the websites that a user visits during his/her online session.
The law in Australia also does not require internet service providers and telecommunication companies to collect data related to what the users did on specific websites.
Of course, that information is out there to be collected and profited from, but for now, internet service providers and telecommunications companies don’t seem to be interested in that.
What’s The Confusion Then?
There is bound to be confusion amongst the public whenever laws are changed in any country.
More so in Australia where the common citizen is more aware of his/her rights than many other places in the world.
Of course, these changes could have some serious repercussions as far as Australians are concerned.
The public, along with the media, hence, have been discussing the possible consequences of these new data retention laws.
As you can probably imagine, many have given the call to users to hide their online presence and online history.
We’ve already mentioned on how you can do that (you’ll have to make use of a service called VPN to protect yourself against this and all other forms of online surveillance).
There is no doubt about the fact that this new legislation in Australia will further push citizens to sign up for VPN service providers.
Needless to say, before this new legislation, ISPs in Australia were not instructed to record such type of user data.
How Does The Situation In The US Compare?
As you probably know, the Trump administration hasn’t exactly been friendly towards data retention laws either.
In fact, lawmakers in the US have aggressively pushed forward bills that will destroy all forms of privacy laws in the country.
So it makes sense why so many American people are pouring their resources in signing up for the best VPN services in the market.
About a month ago, lawmakers in the US decided (mostly republicans) that to protect national interest, they had to get rid of data privacy laws.
But even though the new laws in the US basically allow all internet service providers to not only collect user data but also sell it to the highest bidder, there is still some vested interest in the industry to give users some semblance of online privacy.
Of course, there won’t be many internet service providers in the US who would not collect data and sell their customers’ online browsing history.
What Do The People Want?
We have established the fact that people are indeed concerned about internet service providers knowing too much about them.
But is that the most important issue here?
In fact, what is the most important argument here?
The main argument here is that people are uncomfortable in sharing their metadata.
It is even more disconcerting to know that internet service providers will now be storing user metadata.
So what can the users who reside in Australia do?
Can they even do something about it?
As far as the new law is concerned, the Australian people can’t do much.
Except for maybe vote for a candidate that reverses these laws in future elections.
But apart from that, the only thing Australian people can do is use a VPN service.
A VPN service will not only hide their online presence but will also protect their data from internet service providers and telecommunication companies.
How Many People Are After Your Data?
By people, we mean internet service providers and telecommunication companies.
Australia is a developed country.
That is an obvious fact.
And because it is such a developed country, there are lots of government departments.
In fact, the list of Australian government organizations and departments will probably run into several pages.
Here is the interesting part.
All of those government departments can access user metadata that will now be collected by telecommunications companies and internet service providers.
In other words, the network of people who want to use your data for whatever reasons is extensive and wide.
This much collection of data means another thing.
It means that from now on, Australian people will become more like products to internet service providers and government agencies.
The ordinary Australian citizen’s life will be recorded.
And then, government agencies will access the relevant data.
You don’t need us to tell you that, the information these internet service providers will collect could very well be utilized against the people of Australia.
What Is The Most Effective Way Of Protecting Oneself From All OF This?
We have told you the solution before and will tell it to you again.
The best method of protecting your privacy and guarding your online communications is to sign up for a VPN.
A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.
You don’t need to know the inner workings of a VPN service.
All you need to know is that a VPN service will block everybody from recording the details of your online communications.
A VPN service will also secure your online browsing history.
Your internet service provider will not be able to see what you are doing on the internet.
And if it can’t see what you’re doing, it can’t record anything.
Simple as that.
Are There Any Risks In Using a VPN Service?
Just because we’re going to discuss some of the risks that are involved in using a VPN service, doesn’t mean that a VPN service doesn’t work.
Regardless of the risks involved, a VPN service, in the end, will protect your privacy by using advanced encryption technologies.
The risks, on the other hand, are straightforward and pretty understandable.
First of all, any user will have to come to terms with the fact that they will have to trust their VPN service provider.
Otherwise, this “transaction” will simply not work.
Users will have to trust that a VPN service will do exactly what they claim they do and hence will protect all their customers.
If there isn’t a trust issue then why are we discussing this in the first place?
We are discussing this because, in recent weeks (because of the new laws that require ISPs to collect user data) a lot of online users have started to buy VPN services.
That was prompted unscrupulous VPN services to pop up all over the internet especially in the Android market.
These “fake” and “fraudulent” VPN services have huge privacy and security flaws built into their software packages.
In fact, some of the well-known VPN service providers are also guilty of these flaws.
A lot of VPN service providers don’t keep their promises.
In fact, some even record their customers’ activity and keep user logs.
Good VPN Services
As indicated earlier, there are some well-known VPN service providers in the market and some not so well-known ones.
Most of the better VPN service providers operate in a sufficiently transparent manner.
So you should face no problems in signing up for those.
Afterall, VPN software applications have come a long way from their early days.
Now even a novice can set a VPN on his/her computer machine within a matter of minutes if not seconds.
Moreover, VPN apps now cover all sorts of operating system and devices.
And since more and more people are turning to VPN service providers to protect themselves, VPN services had made quite an effort themselves to rise to the occasion and increase their server capacities.
Most of the top VPN service providers now offer unlimited bandwidth to all their users.
So there is little chance of a server slowdown.
In other words, you will not feel the slowdown effects of a modern VPN on your machine.
Let’s Talk A Little Bit Theory
Nowadays, users can set up any good VPN service to operate on a continuous basis.
As a result, whenever a user’s machine is connected to the internet, the VPN service jumps into action and forms a secure network connection.
And it is via this secure network connection that all of the user’s communications go through.
All of the data that passes through the secure network connection is encrypted and hence private.
A VPN service that works for mobile platforms come with its own set of advantages.
Some mobile VPN services even allow users to communicate with other via apps such as Facetime and Whatsapp in a “hidden” mode.
That is, their ISPs can’t see what’s going on.
Without A VPN Service, Your Data Is Unsafe
The above scenario turns into a mild horror story if one doesn’t make use of a VPN service.
To put it another way, internet service providers can see and then record a user’s Facetime conversation with another person.
And hence, these internet service providers have data over not just the user but also the receiver of the user’s message.
Moreover, internet service providers also know other information such as the duration of the network connection and the location of the user at the exact time he/she communicated with the other person on apps like Facetime and Whatsapp.
That of course, does not mean that internet service providers can identify the person their customer communicated without much effort.
Identifying the recipient of a message still, takes a lot of skill and resources.
But the fact remains that ISPs can track down the internet address and other information about the receiver of the message if they figure it to be feasible.
If both users are using a VPN service, then the internet service providers would get little reward even if it manages to track down the IP address of both the communicators.
Because the IP address the ISP is likely to get to, will be the IP address of the VPN server.
Not of any one of the user’s.
A VPN In The Modern Online World Is A Must
More like an essential piece of software than anything else.
If you are using the internet and live in countries such as Australia and the US, then you must use a VPN service.
Firstly, a VPN service will allow you to secure your internet privacy and secondly, it will add an extra layer of security by protecting you against hackers and phishing attacks.
You did know that Wi-Fi networks at places such as coffee shops, airports, and offices are inherently insecure?
Regardless, a VPN service does a lot of other things as well.
It unlocks geo-locked content all over the world.
A VPN service also allows you to stream content from US version of Netflix from any place in the world.
Streaming Netflix content was probably the biggest reason why people in Australia used a VPN service.
Until the government ratified the new data retention laws.
Giant tech companies like Apple and Google do take user privacy and security seriously.
And that is perhaps why some voices in the media have started to talk about both of these companies coming up with their own VPN services in order to protect user data.
Perhaps, these two companies owe it to the world since one provides the world’s most used internet browser in Google Chrome and the other sells the most number of smartphones in the form of iPhone series.
The VPN service we recommend to protect yourself from internet service providers is IPVanish.
You can sign up for IPVanish by going to the official website. Click here to do that right now.