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Email marketing does not have to be as complex as some people make out. Yes, some rules apply to who

It seems that nowadays everyone owns a VPN for one reason or another. Arguably the single most popular use for VPNs is to access servers in another country. However, there are many other uses for VPNs with privacy being the main ‘unique selling point’ being touted by VPN companies.

For some people, privacy may come at a cost because who really knows what these VPN companies are recording themselves. This leaves a barrage of questions to be answered. Are VPN software providers bound by government laws to disclose your data? Is it true that VPN user data is not recorded when logged onto one of their servers? Who regulates the VPN companies?

According to one Buzzfeed post titled “Popular VPN And Ad-Blocking Apps Are Secretly Harvesting User Data” and written by Craig Silverman, a Buzzfeed New Reporter, Sensor Tower has been recording the activity of millions of VPN users as well as those that use ad-blocker software. In the article, the proof of the pudding is the fact pointed out that the invasion of privacy all comes down to a file that is a ‘root certificate’ which allows the issuer, Sensor Tower in this case, to record user data.

Now, there is a catch here. Sensor Tower does claim that the data it collects is anonymized and therefore it is not a record of one particular user’s data. Or so it says. However, what this means is that when we install VPN software, do we really know exactly what the issuer is putting on our hard drives.

Regardless of how innocent Sensor Tower may be in this scenario, one thing is for sure, plenty of VPN users that specifically use this software for privacy will not be happy to learn that contrary to advertisements, some data is in fact recorded.

On the other hand, the user also has to take some blame along the way for not reading those long terms and conditions!

A great example of this is Facebook and Google products. Did you know that when you sign up, the terms and conditions state that Google and Facebook own your account? That means these firms have full access to all your private information and are allowed to use that information for marketing purposes.

It doesn’t mean Facebook and Google can go out there and share your personal information - as that would be a breach of privacy laws - but it does mean social media and tech firms that use such T&Cs can use your data to create better marketing plans so they can make more money via their advertising platforms such as Facebook paid ads and paid Google Ads.

In essence, the deal is one whereby you are giving away your personal information for marketing purposes in exchange for access to a free product.

So, where do Google and Facebook fit in with the subjects of VPN privacy? Well, the answer is in the example of the T&Cs tick boxes we so willingly check when we sign up to a free product. The same concept applies to free VPN products.

Yes, the VPN provider claims not to record or share personal data and online activity, but to what extent? If you are using a free VPN account, then you are likely sharing data as per the T&Cs and it isn’t until you sign up to a paid account that your activities are no longer recorded, and sometimes even a paid account could still record your session activity because you ticked a box or have not unchecked a box that you should have.

On a positive note, VPNs do protect your privacy and your security with the word encryption touted quite often. Nearly all VPN companies will explain how VPNs protect your security as their main focal point. For instance, check out this Online Security and Privacy article that compares privacy and security using VPNs by telling you the difference between the two.

VPNs can indeed protect your online security because they use advanced 128-bit SSL encryption that prevents cyber attackers from accessing your connection. This is particularly useful if you are connecting to the internet via a public Wi-Fi router and you have no idea who may have access to that router. With an encrypted connection, your data could be snatched straight from the access point you are using which is a common trick used by cyber fraudsters these days.

Whatever you do, make sure you read the terms and conditions, reviews, and opinions about any VPN product you decide to sign up to. Jot down the reasons you want to use a VPN, and then research each VPN to see it ticks all the boxes that make it a VPN that is suitable for your specific purposes.

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