Have you ever wondered what is the extent of your digital identity and if you can control it? Mostly people completely underestimate the scale of their digital imprint and imagine they have some control over it. Firstly they imagine that if you delete or remove something about you online that it’s then gone, unfortunately that it is rarely the case.
The problem with this concept is that there’s rarely a single location where you can delete information. If you send an email, it will transfer from your client through your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and then routed through a variety of shared hardware, servers, routers and switches until it reaches it’s destination. At any point the data can be logged, recorded or copied so that email doesn’t only exist on the senders and recipients computers but potentially in many other places too. Effectively you would have to delete every single copy wherever they may be.
It’s the same with anonymity, it’s reassuring to think that what you do on your computer is completely private but it’s simply untrue. Most data sent from your computer shares some important properties which make anonymity online difficult –
- It’s traceable back to your computer and location via your IP address.
- Most of the data is in clear text and easily readable.
- It’s transported via other people’s hardware.
In many ways using and communicating via the internet is like sending a postcard through the mail – everyone who comes across it can read it (and copy it if they so wished). Understanding this makes at least possible to increase your level of privacy online.
There are of course a whole host of tools which can help reduce the risk however one of the most essential is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Although a VPN doesn’t guarantee complete anonymity it’s without doubt the biggest single step you can take to protect your data online. So it makes sense to find and purchase the best VPN you can find but remember it does depend on your requirements, for example many don’t allow anonymous torrenting .
The crucial protections that a VPN gives you are many, but these are probably the highlights:
- Encrypts all your data being transmitted which means although it can still be intercepted, none of the content is readable.
- Stops your internet activity being logged at your ISP. Without a VPN every website you visit, every file you download or video you watch is recorded and logged at your ISP.
- Stops websites you visit from recording your address and location.
There are other areas you would need to protect of course to minimize your digital footprint but most are irrelevant unless you use something to protect the internet connection you use. Make sure you use a VPN that is run by a company who take security seriously.
The best VPN for anonymity is one where security is paramount and under no account will they log any of your data, at the moment the best legal protection comes from European privacy legislation so it’s worth considering companies based there. It’s tempting to pick a more obscure location, but if you start routing your connection through something like a Russian or Indian proxy make sure you know them well as there’s likely to be little legislation protecting your rights and their conduct.
Our recommendation for the most secure service and the best VPN for anonymity would be ..
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