Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe: Maintaining Your Privacy Without Net Neutrality
While the decision of FCC commissioner Ajit Pai to effectively dismantle net neutrality regulations was widely panned, nothing could ultimately dissuade the corporate stooge from making it possible for corporations to impact our internet access once more. Those regulations effectively democratized our access to the internet, making it possible for us to use whatever services we’d choose to without the interference of internet service providers (ISPs) or unwanted intrusions by paying corporations. When considering that we live in the era of “big data,” where information on everyone’s internet activity and social media posts is now a valuable, marketable commodity, the existence of net neutrality regulations provided a practical barrier between intrusive third parties and our information.
Now, however, the online landscape has changed, and not for the betterment of consumers. While ISP throttling, or the practice of slowing down your service if you try and access websites or applications that didn’t pay a premium, is still illegal, ISPs are now free to create service “fast lanes” for those who pay for preferential treatment. In addition, ISPs and corporations alike are free to track and sell your activity to the highest bidder; everything you do online is trackable nowadays, and ISPs will be quick to take advantage if you don’t have the proper protections in place. While no method will eliminate these intrusions entirely, there are ways for privacy-conscious consumers to keep their information safe and their service from being impacted.
If you’re interested in a cost-effective, secure solution that you can implement at home, you may want to consider either jailbreaking your device or using the services of a virtual private network (VPN).
Jailbroken: Bypassing Corporate Restrictions for Your Benefit
Jailbreaking is the reprogramming of your device to remove the manufacturer’s restrictions on what kinds of third-party software you can use with it. In short, if you own an iPhone but want to use Android apps, jailbreaking your iPhone will allow you to get and use apps that aren’t in the apple store, making it possible for you to use just about any app you want with your new tech.
Now, there are a few qualifications that need to be gone over. Jailbreaking is legal, and once a consumer purchases a piece of tech, as long as they aren’t using it for an illegal purpose, what they do with it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law. But it can remove security protections on your devices as well as manufacturer restrictions, so it may be necessary to get a VPN to complement and protect your jailbroken device.
VPN’s: A YouTube Advertising Sensation
You’ve probably heard quite a bit from VPN companies looking to sell you their product, especially on social media sites or through creators on YouTube. That’s because nowadays, VPNs have become a reliable way for consumers who have become disillusioned with the idea of government protection of their rights to protect themselves. By connecting their users to servers via a private, encrypted channel, VPNs cloak the IP address of their users from ISPs (preventing throttling or “fast-lanes”), ne’er-do-wells on public servers, and companies looking to track their activity across websites.
While there are various options on the market, and purchasing a VPN will be an investment no matter which you go with, you might want to consider a VPN that corresponds with your devices for best results.
Privacy is Not Dead Yet
With the expansion of technology and, subsequently, the rise of cybercrime and improved corporate efforts to track and sell your data, it may seem as though digital privacy is an outdated notion, the equivalent of “we used to leave our doors unlocked at night” kind of sentiment. But privacy is not yet an outmoded concept, and protecting yours may make all the difference as our lives continue to intertwine with ever-evolving digital spaces.