VPNs matters in Australia’s metadata retention era

Posted on April 14, 2017 12:00 am

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) use is cited as a solution to overcoming governmental restrictions. In land down under, VPN will definitely come in handy for users trying to get around the idea of internet provider providing all of the metadata engagement that individuals do online to government.Yesterday was the deadline for internet providers to be compliant with Australia’s metadata retention scheme, which was passed in 2015. The law demands internet providers and telecommunications companies to keep and store information generated by customers texting, calling or using the internet.The metadata collection as per the law which your blogger has read, the information around the content of anything individuals do online.However, its not the actual things individuals write in email and text messages and content in a phone call. VPNs will definitely provide a layer of security for users land down under as it can help conceal online browsing information from internet providers. Using a VPN service is something that anyone can do, even without any computer or IT experience. It is so easy that even your kids can browse with a VPN.All Australian internet providers and telecommunications companies will have to collect data that includes among others name, address, date of birth, email addresses, information of any communication like mode of communication whether voice, sms, email, chat, forum, social media, location of the person at the start and end of the communication as well as address and details of the receiver of the communication and the network used for the communication.VPNs are used for different reasons.In countries where censorship is common which includes a regulation on certain content, meaning officials can block websites if they see fit VPNs are valuable. People in such countries express concerns over such regulation, citing it as censorious and a threat to freedom of expression. Additionally, there are concerns over the fact that such regulation operates largely without oversight.In most countries, mobile phone users are required to register their numbers with the government.VPNs use is actually a relatively good thing from an individual’s privacy perspective and may actually make people more aware generally of security issues on the Internet.From Australia’s ISP’s angle, use of VPNs by their customers is a good thing because it would reduce the information that they are required to keep under the new that comes into effect today.

When you use a VPN you have the chance to browse the web without leaving any evidence of your presence behind.Also the use of VPN makes the user feel much better knowing that there is no risk for those viruses and attacks. Telecommunications companies also reportedly comply with requests for data from law enforcement, and regulations are in place calling on them to build local data centers. In total, there are various laws and regulations that allow government and law enforcement to conduct surveillance. Oversight on these rules is limited, with few controls for abuse. Thats why VPNs can be used to bypass censorship and access an unrestricted Internet. With the governmental restrictions described above, it’s no surprise many users in Australia will use VPNs to enjoy an Internet devoid of surveillance thanks to the new laws. What Aussies can only hope is that VPN providers are going to be honest as customers are required to simply trust that the VPN providers that they don’t keep records of users. With expected growth of numbers of customers, VPN providers will definitely make an effort to scale servers and bandwidth to make the occasional slow-downs from using a VPN less common in Australia.VPNs will become an essential part of being on the internet in Australia going forward. Apart from the privacy aspect, there is the added security they provide, especially when using unknown wireless networks in public places or at work. Using a VPN protects users who are downloading because their Internet address appears as if it belongs to a service in another country. An advertising company wanting to track down the owner of the IP address would find the VPN company. Most VPN companies always resist giving up customer names and limit the time that they keep data of users. Any content owner seeking information from a VPN provider would have to go through a significant number of hurdles to get access to the person using the service. Also, VPN companies are most likely to be based outside Australia to the servers that are being used and even to the customer themselves, creating further legal hurdles with the new laws in Australia. In my view, today marks the day online privacy was buried officially and my advise is that if possible, get a VPN which will reroute online traffic down an encrypted platform as that means internet providers will only see users connection to VPN and rest will be invisible and unavailable to them. Keep yourself safe starting this Easter weekend.

Contador Harrison