Even if you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen it on the TV, Big Brother is everywhere, and nowhere does he have a greater presence than online.
In recent UK press, it has been illustrated how the Government are now pressing for Internet Service Providers to implement a ‘jihad’ button to report extremist activity online.
But while this move may be seen as a positive step forward in terms of national security, it does highlight the fact that Big Brother is everywhere, and his interest goes far deeper than protecting the safety of the country.
What Does the Government Know?
Basically, any time you use a smartphone, computer, tablet or laptop without a VPN, the government of this country, and any other, can find out where you are, what you are doing. If you are using a mobile phone, the Government will be able to tell where you are calling from, who you were calling, for how long you and sometimes even what you were saying. Any information you send over the web can also be recorded, with particular attention on what files you download and what details you send.
They can identify your preferences, who you interact with and what you are saying.
And you don’t have to be a convicted criminal or even a suspect for this information to be sought. The government can have access to it all, unless you make the necessary arrangements.
Every time you log on to the web, your Internet Service Provider issues you with an IP address which tracks every step of your online activity. This can show what sites you visit, how long you are on them and what path you take from each site. And yes, this can be a very useful tool when you want to track cyber bullying or stop global terrorism. But when it comes to the normal man on the street, you are being tracked too. And this is an invasion of privacy that goes more than one step too far.
We all criticize the people who want to their lives broadcast to the nation, but ultimately if you are not taking the necessary precautions when you are online, that is exactly what you are doing, every second of the day.
And it’s not just the sites you are looking at that concerns the Government. There are now moves not only to block access for people who look at sites that are perceived to be against public interest. But now, Governments are looking to block the publication of any extremist opinions. And though this may come as a blessing to those who understand the threat of extremist propaganda, how many years ago would Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or even Emily Pankhurst be considered to have an extremist opinion?
And it’s Not Just the Government
Even if you can accept that the Government are only looking out for your best interests, which has to be questionable at the very least, access to your information doesn’t stop there.
Think about last time you visited Facebook, Google or even opened your email. Don’t you find it an amazing coincidence that the adverts at the side of the screen are all things you would be interested in?
In reality, it is no coincidence at all. By signing up to any search engine or social network, if you haven’t taken the necessary steps in protecting your privacy, those companies are not only able to access and use every piece of information you provide them with, but they can share it with other companies too.
For example, if you were to ‘like’ a major department store on Facebook, then don’t be surprised if the next time you access your page, all the adverts down the side are for other online and high street chains that provide comparative products.
Search ‘golf accessories’ on Google and you will soon see that any page you visit with Google Ads will be offering deals and promotions on the type of products you have been searching for, even if the page itself is totally unrelated to the product in question.
Personally, I carried out a search on ‘incontinence products’ on an unprotected laptop to see how this would affect the information presented online. Simply by putting two words in my Google search engine, the adverts I was presented with across the web changed almost immediately. And even more concerning, it only took one day before I was receiving marketing emails to my personal email account that I hadn’t even used on the sites I visited. Is this a coincidence too?
And though you may not care that the entire online community can easily gain access to information about what underwear you choose to buy, what about the delivery address of the products, the payment information included, or even identity data such as passport numbers, banks details or national insurance numbers that could all be available.
There are even cases now of employers tracking their employees’ activity on social networking sites and using this information to limit promotional opportunities or even have someone fired.
This is a global conspiracy to ensure every element of your social and personal habits are shared with the world, and it is only by taking action that you can stop it.
Just Say No
The easiest way to stop this constant outflow of information is to always access the web via a secure VPN service.
Choose a service that will encrypt your data, creating a much more secure information exchange online, and has the ability to hide IP addresses to ensure your online activity is neither recordable nor traceable back to you.
When you connect with Easy Hide VPN, you can select the country and town where your server is located to ensure total anonymity across the globe. And unlike most other VPN providers, you can also even choose your own IP address, making sure all your personal information stays just that, totally personal.
This isn’t about ‘going under the radar’ and becoming a cyber-guerrilla. This is about the basic right of every individual to privacy and security when using the web.
After all, we invented the envelope to stop the postman reading our letters; we invented curtains to stop people seeing in our windows; so why shouldn’t we enjoy the same basic right to privacy when we are online.
Use the right VPN and you can.