Privacy Protector

April 20, 2017 10:50 AM

Privacy Tip: Use A Virtual Private Network

About this feature: As journalists, we know how important it is to keep our secrets secret. Nobody wants their prescription information, credit card numbers, or personal e-mails floating in the digital ether. So, when your privacy is threatened by profit-driven corporations or a sprawling surveillance state, it’s time to get smart. Enter “Privacy Protector,” a new recurring feature by Brian Howey.

By Brian Howey
Tower Staff Writer

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure connection between another network and your device via the internet. This encrypted connection is used to forward all of your network traffic through the VPN, adding a layer of privacy to your device.

A VPN does NOT make you anonymous.

Think of it as curtains for your windows.You may mask your activities within the house with the curtains, but your address is still visible to the outside world.

Do not use VPNs that keep traffic logs or are based in the U.S.VPNs that keep traffic logs can sell those logs to third parties such as advertising companies or law enforcement.

The NSA can serve a subpoena to any U.S.-based VPN demanding that company hand over their encryption keys.

Such subpoenas are often accompanied by a gag order, making it illegal for that company to inform its users of the order.

For more information about VPNs, visit For a list of non U.S.-baased VPNs, visit

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