ISPs are Collecting Your Metadata and This is A Great Reason to Use A VPN
The new metadata laws that have into force in Australia require Internet Service Providers and telecom companies to collect your online metadata.
Your online metadata as defined by the legislation include the following:
Your name, date of birth, postal and email addresses, and other personally identifiable information
Details of your communications including:
- The type of communication (email, voice, social media etc.)
- Your physical location at the start and at the end of the communication
- The address and other details of the recipient
- The communication network used for sending and receiving the message
It does not include any information regarding the websites you visit or the actions you performed on those sites. It is not completely clear what this data retention law means for Australians. At least some people believe that this legislation has made it necessary for privacy-conscious internet users to hide their online browsing. However, since ISPs are not required to collect and store such information it is not exactly known where this need to hide online activity comes from.
ISPs have a vested interest in protecting your online privacy. Even so, a lot of people are concerned about their ISP storing their metadata. Since the metadata collected by your ISP or telecom can be accessed by a large number of government departments, it is not hard to see why people are getting paranoid. In theory, this law would allow agencies to access a major chunk of Australians’ online habits and use that information against them.
If you are concerned about your online privacy and security, you should consider using a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your online traffic and make it impossible for prying eyes to see your traffic. It will also hide your communication details and browsing history from your ISP, employer, or government agencies.
However, this does not mean that just because you are using a VPN, you are completely safe on the internet. There are still some risks despite a VPN. It is important to choose a VPN company that actually does what it claims to do. It was revealed recently that several VPN apps meant for Android had serious security and privacy issues with them. Even if you are choosing a well-known company, there is no easy way to find out whether they are keeping usage or connection logs. Popular names in this industry have no-logs policies, but it is a matter of trust. That said, there are several well-known VPNs that have been operating without any controversies for several years. Even if you are new to VPNs, you can easily install and use VPN software on your devices. Some VPNs also allow you to use their connection on several devices at the same time. And the growing popularity of VPNs has encouraged service providers to add more servers and bandwidth. As a result, connections have become pretty fast and you are now unlikely to notice any defect.
A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your computer and the websites you visit online. It routes your connection to one of their secure servers located elsewhere and thus hides your true IP address. For example, by using a mobile VPN, you can hide even your WhatsApp or Facetime communications from your ISP. If you don’t use a VPN, your ISP can record the conversation between you and the other person, the length of the conversation, and your location at the time of the conversation. Not surprisingly, VPNs are becoming the most desired personal security products on the internet.