You’ve probably seen all the headlines about Big Tech’s legal shield. It lets companies like Apple and Google track your every move and tamper with search results, controlling which websites you can access. Recently, Big Tech’s crackdown on conservative Twitter alternative Parler sparked a wildfire of controversy.
Tap or click here to find out why app stores booted Parler and how Amazon shut it down. Basically, the debate is all about privacy and free speech. That’s because recent events exposed the incredible power imbalance between huge tech companies and ordinary users.
Recent events made it crystal clear for many people: Big Tech can flex its muscles and we can’t do anything about it. Actually, that’s what many people think, but there is one way you can retaliate against Big Tech’s constant surveillance. You can protect your personal data by installing a VPN.
Here’s how VPNs work and protect you
The acronym VPN is short for virtual private network. Using a VPN also stops your internet provider from tracking your every move and lets you unblock websites and bypass filters.
For example, certain countries will block TV shows or movies, either because of copyright laws or cultural reasons. But with a VPN, you can trick websites into thinking your IP address is in another country. That way, even if you’re a traveler dealing with the “Great Firewall of China,” you can stream content the government doesn’t want you to see.
As you can tell, VPNs are incredibly powerful tech. They can protect your freedom and stop seemingly invincible companies from dominating your data.
They can even threaten governments. Luckily, here in America, you’re not at legal risk for using a VPN. But hopefully, that example illustrates just how powerful VPNs are. They’re incredible tools for taking back your freedom.
You need a VPN on every device you use. Here’s what to look for
First, avoid free VPNs at all costs. Many free VPNs make money by selling your data to ad companies. When you download a free app, you’re completely defeating the purpose of even having a VPN.
Tap or click here for more on why you can’t trust free VPNs. There’s nothing wrong with trying to save money, but you need to be careful which corners you cut. Online security is one place you can’t skimp, so trying to get by with a free VPN is a terrible idea.
Second, do your research. Just because you’re paying for a VPN doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get good protection. Take NordVPN, for example. A hacker broke into one of its Finnish servers and leaked security certificates.
Bottom line: Do your research before you commit to a VPN. Avoid free options since they’re most likely going to track you and sell your data. Invest in a good option and make sure whichever you pick doesn’t have a history of skeevy behavior or security breaches.
Otherwise, you could be part of a massive data leak. Last July, seven VPNs leaked 1.2 terabytes of personal user data. If you don’t choose wisely, you could wind up with a VPN that puts your privacy at a greater risk than ever before.
Make sure to look for a safe and speedy VPN
In the old days, we had to content ourselves with VPNs that made our computers as slow as molasses in January. That was the trade-off: “Sure, my computer runs slowly, but at least companies can’t track me!”
Nowadays, we’re much luckier. You can install a VPN and work just as quickly as before. The fastest option on the market is our sponsor, ExpressVPN.
Not only is it easy to set up, but ExpressVPN doesn’t log your data. ExpressVPN’s servers can’t log any of your information because of its Trusted Server technology.
Here’s how it works: most servers rely on hard drives, which keep all your data until you manually erase it. This puts you at risk since a data breach could leak your sensitive information. ExpressVPN solves this problem by running on RAM, or volatile memory.
Now, your operating system and apps won’t write to the hard drive. Instead, your server runs on RAM, which requires power to store data. That means all the information on your server is wiped every time you turn your device on and off again.
Even if you don’t go with ExpressVPN, you should pick an app that runs on RAM, like Surfshark, Perfect Privacy or AzireVPN. NordVPN also uses RAM-desk servers, but keep its recent breach in mind. Do your research and find an option that prioritizes your safety.
Above all else, don’t give up hope
It’s easy to feel powerless when you turn on the news and hear stories about Big Tech tracking your every move. Just don’t give in to apathy. That’s the quickest way you can get taken advantage of by companies that want to sell your secrets.
Remember: Losing your privacy isn’t a foregone conclusion. But it can happen if you don’t take proactive steps. Don’t be one of the 85% of people who browse without a VPN.