Internet Privacy Level 2 for cheap

Well, there is a number of reasons not to trust a default Internet security provided by conventional Internet Service Providers and  software manufacturers.

I have given a serious thought to the subject and here is what is pretty clear to me:

The weakest chain links are ISPs

It is always easier to monitor, filter and restrict Internet activity on ISP level than on individual service/site level. It is even economical since the state could simply issue a regulation that mandates ISPs to report and install a surveillance software/hardware at their gateways at their costs. And since ISP is a highly competitive business with slim margins, they don’t want to mess up with the state, so they will sell you in a heartbeat.

Local governments are suspects, foreign are less so

Well, I certainly see some cases when you don’t want to be monitored by foreign governments, but for an average guy it is less of a problem. Say I am in Russia, I don’t really care that much if I am monitored by NSA, because I don’t have any ties to US. I don’t owe them any taxes, I don’t travel there that often and I am not sure they will spend any significant money to directly attack me in any way because I am yet another ‘Idiot on the Internet’ for them. Even if NSA knows my precise location, I don’t care either, they are not about to send a drone over the Atlantic Ocean to hunt me 🙂 The situation with the local government is different. Locals can actually come to your door. For instance, here is some evidence that this could really happen. Some random guy claims he got harassed by authorities for some suspicious Google search

Commercial censorship is even more annoying

Copyright legal system has certainly some rationale behind, but sometimes you are discriminated based on your IP geolocation that is quite a strange way to provide services in the age of Internet. And since you as a user is not liable for having IP address assigned to your home country you can absolutely legally bypass this corporate censorship by having a right IP address instead of what your local ISP provides.

A solution I use: VPN service

It is very easy to significantly increase your Internet privacy and security while at the same time bypass ridiculous geolocation restrictions imposed for marketing or political reasons on you.

For $5-$10 per month VPN service providers like these offer a good level of privacy while also open a whole new world for people happen to live in a countries with wrong governments in place or who wish to enjoy a first world Internet services restricted to specific geographical areas only.

All you need to do is to install some VPN client software (in some cases even this is not needed), pay your fee and get a login on their servers at almost any country you wish. Local ISP is not going to be able to look at your traffic as is it encrypted and tunneled abroad to a VPN server. Local Internet filters are no longer able to restrict you.

This basically takes away simplest ways from your government to spy on you. Unless you happen to attract such a strong interest from a government that is enough to arrange a costly direct and internationally coordinated attack on you personally, it is unlikely that you will ever have any problem.

You also can make VPN transparent for all your devices by installing a VPN-ready router that allows encrypted Wi-Fi for your home (any Wi-Fi router) and then uses VPN to tunnel your connections to remote VPN server of your choice (many conventional routers are capable to do this).

VPN was initially designed for a corporate use when employees are traveling and don’t have direct access to corporate Intranet, so it doesn’t raise red flags by default. It is much faster than Tor and doesn’t have latency/bandwidth problems.

I’ve set all this up a couple days ago and now I’m a happy user of an awesome Spotify music service which at this point doesn’t want serving users in Russia. American IP address opens many doors 🙂

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