In economics, there is an expression: “There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL)”. Because, at the end of the day somebody’s going to pay for it, and it’s invariably you. Precisely how that happens is up for debate but it happens. Free software over the Internet also comes with a cost. You’re either forced to sit through multiple advertisements, slow loading times, or at risk of malware. Sometimes, free software programs result in far more negative outcomes.
For example, VPN companies (Virtual Private Network) may offer clients complimentary access to their products. Given that premium VPN services can cost you a fistful of dollars every month, it makes sense that some people are opting for the free versions of this software. Not everything that glitters is gold, however. Over the years, various surveys have been conducted among a wide range of popular VPN products. One such survey found that an estimated 22% of the world’s most popular virtual private network services actually logged their clients’ data. This is troubling since logs can be used for any number of nefarious purposes.
For example, logs can be sold to third parties and their marketing departments – many of which use the information for illegal purposes. Logs can also be turned over to the authorities, for any number of reasons. This is deeply disturbing. The whole point of a VPN is to prevent governments, third parties, and bad actors from intercepting your personal information. If you’re going to be using a free VPN service, you run the risk of having your data disseminated all over the Internet. This is the Achilles’ heel of free VPN subscriptions.
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Recent Changes in Canada Raise Eyebrows
According to a report by CIRA in 2016, an estimated 25/100 Canadian residents routinely use the Internet for downloading files. Among millennials and young folks, 6/10 stream audio-visual content on the Internet and of those, 1/5 use VPNs for grey-area purposes. Anyone who accesses the Internet should rightly be concerned about privacy, safety, and security. Canada is a great example. Since 2012, the government has been tightening its grip over users’ browsing activity. Various legislative amendments have come into force, allowing the government to access, gather and share user data at will. One such regulation is known as the 2015 Anti-terrorism Act.
Various multinational intelligence services also allow for international cooperation between countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The sharing of intelligence among these countries means that no one is safe from the prying eyes of the authorities. Without a pay-to-use VPN service, you run the risk of having your data intercepted by the government. This is not a paranoid delusion – it is a reality that too many people are waking up to every day. Fortunately, a virtual private network serves as an effective way to mask your traffic by rerouting your browsing activity through servers which do not leave a digital trace of your IP address.
There are many ranking Canada VPN providers available. Top VPN services such as ExpressVPN, retail at $6.67 per month when you purchase a 12-month contract + 3 months free. Other top services include NordVPN, HideMyAss, and SaferVPN. Unfortunately, too many people realize too late that it’s better to pay a nominal fee every month. Freebies are inherently risky, and the evidence certainly attests to that.
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Why Would Free VPNs Sell Your Data to Third Parties?
The short answer: Because they can. When you provide your consent to use a VPN service (for free), and you don’t read the terms and conditions associated with the VPN service provider you may be at risk. If they decide to sell your information (which is a sensible marketing tactic) they are making money off your information without you paying for their services.
Marketing companies will pay a pretty penny for the type of activity that free VPN services are able to provide. If they know what sites you are frequenting, your logins, which services you use, then they can use that information for all manner of illegal activities. This includes identity theft, hacking, unrelenting advertising, and malware. The short & sweet solution: Don’t get lost in ‘faux’ cyberspace – use a premium VPN service and protect your browsing activity and your anonymity.