I have recently came across a few posts saying, ‘A VPN does nothing for your Privacy’ etc…
They are not wrong, what a VPN actually does has been greatly exaggerated by (some) VPN companies to up their sales.
My question is in these situations is a VPN actually improve Privacy;
Hiding browsing history from ISP - I know some people will say ‘you are just trusting a different company’ but in reality good, trustworthy, privacy-focused VPNs (Mullvad, IVPN, Proton VPN) will be better for your privacy than your ISP.
Public networks - Hiding browsing history & securing connection when on public networks
Hiding IP Address from websites - pretty self-explanatory.
If there is anything you want to add or change, feel free to do so.
Your traffic should be TLS encrypted, the ISP shouldn’t have access to your browsing history, you shouldn’t use a VPN for encryption. You are going to need end-to-end encryption, even if you use a VPN.
Getting to hide your IP address in the main benefit from using a VPN, especially if you are using something like the proton secure core servers when the VPN inbound and outbound servers are located in different countries. It prevents your ISP from cross-referencing your real IP address with your VPN address.
To put a clarification to this statement, by using TLS , the information you put on a website is hidden from your isp but the ISP can still see the name of the websites you visit by their SNI and by the IP of the destination website.
- In my own scenario i wouldn’t subscribe for a VPN for the sake of hiding my traffic from my ISP.
But it could largely depend upon users threat model and the country they reside in.
- I hardly ever connect to any public networks , so this isn’t the case for me.
- Hiding IP address from websites would be for a very particular use case. In the age of dynamic IP and public ip , the website could only know the rough idea of which state/city you belong to.
In most cases this info is useful for the users themselves for providing them with relevant results. Personally i allow most websites to guess my rough location based on IP as it wouldn’t uniquely identify me and give relevant results as well.(using ublock generally with all browsers)
I feel the main technique for websites to track you is not IP based but browser fingerprint. Most browsers will give websites the local time of your PC instead of the time where VPN server is located , so in turn you create a unique fingerprint for yourself by using a VPN. So hiding from websites by masking Ip should used for specific cases only.
I do want to hide the websites I visit from my ISP due to the fact that they sometimes can keep it for up to 6 years and are not that privacy-friendly. I live in a country which is subject to the GDPR and is a pretty decent country when it comes to privacy.
I am not too worried about being tracked by my IP but, I would rather that it was not logged by every website I visit.
I will most likely choose a VPN server in my country as I am not too worried about websites knowing what country I am in. Though, I might use Multi-Hop and route my traffic through a VPN server in Switzerland (or a similar country) and then through to a server in my country for added protection.
I also have hardened my main browser and it is pretty good at preventing fingerprinting.
I mainly want my real IP address not to be logged by websites and my ISP to not collect all of the websites I visit.