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VPN Services Pull Wool Over Eyes Of Government, Retailers

(credit: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

(credit: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The leaks keep coming from Edward Snowden. This past week, we heard claims the NSA has developed automated technology to break into computers on a vast scale. Keeping communication under wraps isn’t easy,  but it’s not just the government who wants to know a lot about you and that’s where a particular privacy tool comes in.

Virtual Private Networks are nothing new, but they’ve largely been the stuff of enterprise, businesspeople hopping on workplace systems while traveling.

A VPN keeps your Internet connection secured; your data, encrypted.

Anonymizer is one provider.

“We keep no logs whatsoever of what our users are doing when they’re logged in and where they go.”

Lance Cottrell, the company’s chief scientist, says government spooks are one thing, but corporations are doing a lot of spying these days as we point, click, and swipe our way across the web.

“Things like pricing, if a company has identified you as someone who tends to buy expensive things, they will set up their website to either charge you more or only show you more expensive options when you go there. Just like if you live in an expensive zip code, we’ve seen hotel rates and airline flights based on where someone’s located.”

Privacy services like the Tor network are free; Anonymizer charges $79/year for what Cottrell says is its track record.

“We’re coming up on 20 years in operation next year without ever having been forced to turn over user activity information that would allow someone’s actions on the Internet to be tracked back to them, and I think that really stands alone. We’ve gotten hundreds of subpoenas, but we just literally don’t have the logs.”

Along with disk encryption, anti-virus, password Cottrell says VPNs are just one part of good security hygiene.

For more information on Anonymizer, visit: https://www.anonymizer.com/

For more information on Tor network, visit: https://www.torproject.org/

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