What can Edward Snowden Teach us about using a VPN?

Edward Snowden from NSAEdward Snowden has become a household name in many countries throughout the world due to his revelations about how the US monitors Internet activity. As Edward Snowden continues to seek asylum from multiple nations, his story is a valuable lesson for anyone thinking about protecting their Internet freedom with a VPN.

The reality of Internet surveillance

Most of us would readily concede that certain countries like China or Saudi Arabia monitor Internet activity. We hear about it all the time in the news. What shocked people the most about the revelations of Edward Snowden was that he was pointing a finger at the United States.

The United States is supposed to be the last outpost of personal freedom in the modern world. It is upheld as a bastion of free speech and expression. Snowden exposed this as a myth by revealing that the NSA regularly collects data from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter in an effort to monitor Internet traffic and communication.

The reality is that no matter where you live or work your Internet communication is vulnerable to government agencies. We all can agree that this can be useful in matters of national security, but the worrisome part is that governments aren’t making many distinctions when it comes to looking at personal data. They see what they see. Should you really have to worry about everything you post or look at online?

What a VPN can and cannot do

One of the first things you should understand about using a VPN account to protect your Internet privacy is what it can and cannot do. Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA monitors many social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, a VPN won’t help you much here.

Whenever you use a personal social network account your data is stored on the network’s server. That means there are many ways to track you down besides your IP address. Facebook tracks the actual device you use. The key thing to understand here is that you may think your Facebook and Twitter usage is secure, but it is not.

Trying to hide criminal activity such as pirating copyrighted material or “torrenting” is something else most VPN’s will not condone. Remember, breaking the law is breaking the law. If it is illegal it doesn’t matter if you break it on or offline.

There are ways, however, that a VPN can help you in the United States. A VPN can hide your real IP address and give you a degree of anonymity when doing searches. Remember, Snowden revealed that the NSA monitors Google also. Some search terms may trigger observation, who knows, but why take the risk? The searches you perform on Google are your personal business, and many people just don’t want the government snooping around in the things they choose to view online.

This isn’t a moral issue. Right and wrong is not for us to decide, and if you are searching things online that you shouldn’t be searching then you are responsible for that.  But what if you are a gay man or woman who is searching on coming out of the closet or attempting to locate a gay and lesbian social network? Is it right that the NSA or any government should be able to monitor those searches and tie them to your IP address? Shouldn’t you have the right to decide what is revealed about your personal life? Edward Snowden taught us that everything about your life is fair game in cyberspace.

How law-abiding citizens use a VPN

Another thing we can learn from Edward Snowden is that Internet monitoring doesn’t just get done on criminals. According to Snowden, the NSA monitors law-abiding citizens as well. This brings up an interesting question: how do law-abiding citizens use a VPN? Why do they use one?

Protecting personal data from information thieves is one major reason for using a VPN. Here’s the deal: there are only two types of networks you can really trust when it comes to keeping your data safe. The first is the network you use at home, provided you use the proper safeguards and restrict usage to your household members. The other is a VPN.

Whenever you connect to a public network like the one at your favorite coffee shop, the one provided by the hotel you are staying at, or the one at the library, your data is potentially at risk. Anyone on that network might be able to access your personal information. Would you walk up to a complete stranger and ask them to hold your wallet while you went to the bathroom? Probably not, but this is basically what you are doing when you use an unsecured public network.

A VPN gives law-abiding citizens the power to protect their personal data. In fact, using a VPN is the responsible thing to do. It is just as responsible as locking up your valuables in a safe.

Your right to use a VPN

What is really at issue in the case of Edward Snowden is your personal right to retain a level of anonymity online, a cyberghost. Many people would argue that the intrusion of governments upon the Internet activities of citizens treads upon an individual’s basic liberties, especially in the United States.

Snowden is a powerful reminder that, even in a country where the very Constitution guarantees personal freedom, it is still the responsibility of each individual to exercise their freedom. You have to make the choice to exercise your right to keep your data protected, and a VPN allows you to do that. If you do nothing, then you are potentially at risk and there is no one else to blame when your rights are violated.

The real lesson we can learn from Edward Snowden is that we take our Internet freedom for granted. We assume that governments will always play fair, and he has proven that they do not. Purchasing a VPN account is one way to assume the responsibility for your online safety and take back your Internet freedom.

You can check out Edwards twitter profile here

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ToTok App Crashes And Burns Amid Spy Allegations

A popular messaging app in the UAE has been removed from Google Play and the App Store in response to allegations that the UAE is using the app for spying. ToTok is no longer available for download on Android and iOS mobile devices.

What is ToTok?

ToTok was introduced in 2019 as a messaging app similar to WhatsApp and other mobile messaging platforms. The app gained quick popularity and was downloaded some 5 million times by Android users. In the last week before it was removed from Google Play the app was among the most downloaded apps by Android users. Similar popularity was observed on the iOS platforms.

The app provides free messaging services, voice calls, and video calls. It also allows for conference calling between 20 people. ToTok is similar in many respects to a Chinese messaging app called YeeCall. The app was developed by Breej Holding specifically for the UAE but has also been downloaded by individuals in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

Upon its release ToTok was promoted by publications in the Emirates that were linked to the state. The popularity of the app in the UAE was aided by the state’s support. The UAE has taken a hard line against other messaging apps such as Skype and WhatsApp. The general impression was that ToTok was associated with the UAE government. This could have accounted for its vast popularity.

The app was made available for free to users and was listed among the top 50 free apps downloaded in many countries including Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and India. Approximately two million daily users are believed to have accessed ToTok for messaging and sharing photos.

Allegations of State Spying by the New York Times

A report published by the New York Times on December 22, 2019 leveled some disturbing accusations against ToTok. According to the article US intelligence was able to determine that the Emirati government was using the app to spy on users. Among the data alleged to have been collected was user movements, relationships, sounds, and images.

There are no known exploits in the ToTok app that would provide such access by third-parties. The developers contend that the app does not have any malware or backdoors. The Emirati intelligence agencies were able to gain access to user data through the permissions that were granted in the routine process of downloading the app. App users are often quick to grant permissions without knowing exactly what they are permitting.

The company that develops ToTok is listed as Breej Holding. This company is believed to be a front for DarkMatter. DarkMatter is a UAE intelligence company that has been investigated by authorities in the US for the commission of cybercrimes. There is also a mining farm based in the Emirates that is believed to be connected to the app. Pax AI has offices that are located in the same building as DarkMatter and the Signals Intelligence Agency that is based in the UAE.

Google And Apple Remove ToTok

Google and Apple were quick to act on the news reported by the New York Times. Both removed the ToTok app from their stores in the wake of the revelations. ToTok issued a statement on the 24th of December that essentially denied the app’s involvement with UAE state spying.

ToTok stated that “users have the complete control over what data they want to share at their own discretion.” The statement further went on the accuse the New York Times of fabricating the entire story.

At the present time it will no longer be possible for individuals to download ToTok for use on their mobile devices. There is no indication that the app will be made available for download once investigations are made into the spying allegations.

The Disturbing Takeaway from the ToTok Spying Scandal

Millions of people have been affected by the ToTok spy scandal. This includes individuals who are permanent residents of the UAE as well as those who live or work in the country on a temporary basis. Many expats use messaging apps to stay in touch with their families at home while they work abroad. It now appears that the data these people share may not be private.

The UAE and other countries in the Middle East have long been strict on the use of messaging apps for mobile devices. Many believe that the opposition to apps like Skype and WhatsApp are due to the state’s inability to control how individuals use the devices. The ToTok scandal could reveal that state intelligence agencies are looking for new ways to control messaging apps and use them for their own benefit.

Other messaging apps such as those which are developed in China might also find themselves under scrutiny in the wake of the ToTok revelations. Just use a trusted VPN, and surf  the web with peace of mind.

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What To Do When Your Data Is Leaked

Having your data leaked can be a traumatic event. No one wants to even think about having their banking information or credit card details in the hands of a cyber criminal. Although the experience isn’t fun, it is very important that you take action quickly when a data breach occurs. Here are some steps that you should take as soon as you discover your personal information has been compromised.

Step One – Find Out What Data Was Stolen

The first thing that you are going to want to do is find out exactly what data was stolen. The company that suffered the data breach will usually email all its affected customers with vital information They will list all the data that could have been compromised. In other cases you may have to do a little digging, especially if the data theft happened on your own computer.

Information that is stolen by data thieves can be broken down into two categories, the least sensitive and the most sensitive. The least sensitive forms of data are street addresses and phone numbers. Names are also in this category. The fact is that this information can usually be obtained with an Internet search by anyone. There is no reason for data thieves to concern themselves with this type of information.

What the hackers are really after is the most sensitive data. This would include banking account numbers, credit card details, and social security numbers. A cyber criminal can cause a lot of harm with this information in their pocket. Account passwords can also fall into this category. They are valuable to a hacker because many people use the same passwords for all of their accounts. When the hacker gets this password they can then get to your email, social media accounts, and even online banking.

Step Two – Immediately Change Passwords

Your next step should be to secure your accounts by changing the password on all of them. As stated above it is the best practice to use different passwords for all of your websites. You can keep track of them with a password manager, and many of these apps will also help you create strong passwords that are hard to break.

It should go without saying that your passwords should be unique. They should not be your birthday, common sequences of numbers, or frequently used words. Believe it or not some people actually use the word PASSWORD as their password. You don’t want to make it easy for the thieves to strike again.

A routine should be established where you change your passwords every six months or so. Stick to this routine and note the date that changes take place.

Step Three – Contact Your Bank and Credit Card Companies

As soon as you determine that your banking details and credit card numbers have been stolen, it is time to contact your financial institutions. Do not delay in reporting that your cards and accounts have been compromised. Request new credit and or debit cards, and change your bank account number if this is possible.

This is a major hassle that will cause you some grief for a few days while you wait for new cards to arrive. You must deal with this and wait it out because using the same cards that have been leaked in a data breach is only going to bring you suffering in the future. By reporting these accounts as compromised you will immediately shut down the thief who obtained them.

If you use a financial payment provider like PayPal, notify them as well. They will help you secure your account. They may put a hold on any payments you receive or send for a few days, but this is standard.

Moving Forward After Your Data is Stolen

At some point after a data theft you have to start living again. If it ever happens to you feelings of apprehension about using the Internet will be present. You might not even want to go online for awhile. That’s all okay. Give yourself time to recover and process what has happened.

Once you have gotten back into your routines and things are back to normal you might find that data theft has changed the way you feel about your privacy and security. You may want to improve security when you browse online or even when you just view certain websites. The shopping sites you use are all secured, but information that you enter on random websites could be exposed to hackers.

A VPN is a good way to improve your overall online privacy and security. It is an affordable way to make sure the data you are sending from your computer is encrypted and difficult for data thieves to steal. A VPN can also be useful if you find yourself traveling to other countries on a regular basis. It will help you access web services that may be restricted in some parts of the world. Such as in UAE, China, Qatar, Oman.

VPNs aren’t the only solution, but they are a good start if you want to be safer online.

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At Least 39 Vpns Are Tracking Your Internet Activity

The reason that most people invest in a VPN is because they want to feel safer online. VPNAccounts.com has discovered a disturbing fact. Some VPN providers are giving their clients the opposite of internet privacy by logging user data. We found that at least 39 VPNs and possibly many more keep logs and track your Internet activity. We are not among those who engage in this practice.

These VPNs Could Be Compromising Your Safety

We tried to compile a complete list of VPNs that keep logs of user data. It was very difficult to do so. We will try to update these findings as more information becomes available to us. For now you should know that each provider on this list has at some point produced logs of user data. The really bad thing about the list is that most of those on it claim that they do not keep logs. Here are the guilty ones:

  • HotSpot Shield
  • Sabre VPN
  • HideMyAss
  • Hola
  • Psiphon
  • Seed4Me
  • Hotspot VPN
  • Safe Connect VPN
  • Betternet
  • Browsec VPN
  • Unlocator
  • Hoxx VPN
  • Touch VPN
  • Kaspersky VPN
  • VPNHub
  • X-VPN
  • VPN In Touch
  • HexaTech
  • Hide My IP
  • VPN AC
  • Encrypt Me
  • Buffered
  • Astrill
  • Bitdefender VPN
  • F-Secure Freedome
  • AppVPN
  • OvpnSpider
  • Speedify
  • TigerVPN
  • ThunderVPN
  • VPN360
  • Ace VPN
  • Opera VPN
  • UltraSurf
  • DotVPN
  • ZenMate
  • TurboVPN
  • VPN Gate

Do you use one of these VPN services? If so you could be putting your private data at risk. Maybe it is time that you thought about changing your VPN provider.

As disturbing as this list is there is an even more upsetting side to the findings. You may have been duped into getting a free VPN that was provided with a web browser, antivirus program, or other service. Are these VPNs better than a paid service? You might be surprised to know that some of them are on the above list.

VPNs With Antivirus Programs and Broswers

On the above list you will see that Opera, Kaspersky, and BitDefender all offer VPNs that keep logs of your browsing activity. Do you use one of these services? Many people use Opera as a browser for their mobile device. Many people use Kaspersky and BitDefender for antivirus and malware protection.

These companies are trying to lure new business by adding a VPN to their existing service. They claim it is “free” and included with the main product. All the while these companies are collecting your user data. Some of them are using it to sell you other products while others are selling the data they collect to a third-party.

Why You Should Choose a No-Log VPN

The whole point of having a VPN is to keep your Internet activity private. It is no one’s business but yours which websites you look at, which services you use, or anything else you do online. You might also want to be able to view things online without tracking cookies revealing every little thing you do. Privacy is the number one reason most people choose to use a VPN.

When a VPN provider logs your data this creates a big problem for your security. Those logs can potentially be used against you. If a VPN provider is served a subpoena for the logs of user activity they will have no choice but to turn them over. A VPN provider that does not log your data has no logs to turn over, even if they are required to do so.

You should always insist on buying your VPN from a provider that does not keep logs of user data. VPNAccounts.com is among those who do not. Contact us today so that we can help you with VPN service. You will find that we offer plans that are right for every budget.

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Can Vpn Providers Be Trusted?

We’re going to assume you know how bad it can be to use a free VPN. What some people might not know is that it is also important for you to be able to trust your paid VPN provider. At the end of the day your VPN is only as good as the company supplying it. Make the wrong choice when buying your service and you could be looking at a lot of trouble down the road. Can VPN providers be trusted to uphold your security and anonymity? Here are a few things you should know.

Begin By Examining Your Reasons for Using a VPN

Before you can decide whether or not a VPN provider can be trusted to give you good service you need to have an understanding of why you are using a VPN. In most cases the answer is going to be one of two things: privacy and security. Perhaps you even want a combination of both because you understand that Internet use without some form of protection can compromise your personal information.

Most paid VPN providers can be trusted to handle the security end of things with little worry. The very nature of a VPN is its ability to encrypt traffic so that anyone trying to observe your Internet activity will come up empty handed. The problem is that some paid VPN providers can become their own security problem. If they are sniffing your traffic and looking at your activities then this kind of defeats the whole purpose of using the VPN.

When it comes to privacy the issue of trust with a VPN provider is much more complex. You need to be able to depend on some assumptions:

  • Your VPN provider isn’t logging your activity
  • Your VPN provider is not willing to provide those logs to other parties

A paid VPN provider could be logging your activity, and that is bad. But the real issue is that the very presence of logs becomes problematic if someone wants to subpoena those logs for whatever reason. What you want is for that to become impossible because your chosen VPN service doesn’t keep logs in the first place.

There is a Way to Determine Trust in a VPN Provider

Thankfully, there is a way for you to determine if a paid VPN provider can be trusted. It requires a little effort on your part and some due diligence, but the results are worth it.

First, you should be willing to examine the provider’s privacy policy and their terms of service. Links to both of these will be found on the provider’s website, usually in the footer. The problem with these documents is that most people don’t take the time to read them in full. You need to do that. Read every word, including the fine print. Those documents should spell out exactly what the provider does with personal information it collects, and whether or not it stores or collects browsing data.

You can then perform a Google search on the providers name plus “logging” as a keyword. This is a simple solution but go ahead and try it now to see what you will find. More results than you expect might come up. What you might find is that the privacy policy of the provider is listed as a search result. This could let you know that you have missed something in the privacy policy about logging of data.

You are also going to find that some searches of this nature will provide results where the provider clearly states that they do not log. Most of those who don’t like to take pride in that as a selling point.

Another step is to ask the provider directly about their VPN logging policy. You should get a clear and direct reply when you ask the question. The provider should not beat around the bush or try to steer you in another direction. If they do, run for the hills.

Don’t expect borders to provide protection. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that having a VPN provider in another country gives them some type of protection against legal action. It depends. If you aren’t doing anything online except gambling in an area where it isn’t legal then you probably don’t have much to worry about. If you are engaged in other activities that are more serious then law enforcement can exert a certain amount of authority regardless of where you and your VPN provider are located.

A VPN provider should also be using the latest technology on their platform. A common problem in recent years is that a lot of shady VPN providers have started popping up to capitalize on VPN popularity. They may have a flashy website and satisfy all of the other requirements, but what is their technology like?

If the technology that governs the back end of the VPN isn’t up to part then you could be at risk. You could become a victim of data theft or worse. A trusted VPN provider should be above par on many levels. This includes the encryption they use, the security features that are present, and independent opinions of the service.

On the subject of independent opinions don’t ever underestimate the importance of online reviews. You can look for reviews from users and you can also look for reviews from websites that evaluate VPN services.

At the end of the day it is your responsibility to check out your paid VPN provider. Here at VPNAccounts.com we are happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. We’ll also be happy to explain our policies on logging. Out goal is to provide you with VPN service that you can trust.

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China Is Using Vpn To Conduct Disinformation Campaign

China has recently been accused of using a VPN to spread disinformation on social media. Most of the posts have apparently been made in response to the Hong Kong protests taking place in the Summer of 2019. While it may not seem strange that another superpower is trying to influence public opinion on social media, it is curious that Chinese operatives used a VPN to accomplish their goals.

China, Hong Kong, and VPN

Hong Kong has been rocked by ongoing protests that began in the first half of 2019. The protesters are making a statement against Beijing’s efforts to crack down on extradition policies in Hong Kong. China technically rules Hong Kong as a special administrative region, but there are many differences between Hong Kong and China. Namely, residents of Hong Kong enjoy freedom from an authoritarian regime.

That changed when the government announced it would extradite individuals who have sought refuge in Hong Kong to avoid punishment for crimes committed in China. This did not go over well with student activists in Hong Kong that have long called for democracy.

Images from the protests, mostly unflattering to the Chinese government, made their way onto social media. Unlike in China, social media networks in Hong Kong can be accessed without a VPN. China blocks access to almost 140 popular websites which include Google and Facebook. The common belief is that the government wished to strictly control what is allowed to be posted on social media.

In Hong Kong the social networks were filled with images of one million protesters. While China was not in a position to prevent the access of social media, it appears to have adopted an old maxim: if you can’t beat them, join them.

Hypocrisy and Disinformation in China

At some point the Chinese government decided to mount a disinformation campaign using Facebook and Twitter. The only problem was accessing these networks since they are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. That was a small hurdle to overcome. The Chinese apparently used a VPN to evade the block and make it appear that the social media posts were coming from inside Hong Kong and other areas.

Twitter discovered 936 accounts that were created in the People’s Republic of China. These accounts were then used, according to The Verge to “undermine the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.”

Facebook took a similar approach and suspended numerous fake accounts which are believed to have originated in China for the purposes of disinformation. All of these social media accounts are believed to have been accessed with VPNs. YouTube was also impacted. Some 200 YouTube accounts were suspended in the wake of the revelations.

The hypocrisy here is apparent. China has effectively banned the sale of VPNs in the country. This measure was taken specifically to prevent individuals in the country from accessing blocked websites. Yet, the country had no problem using VPN to spread its own disinformation on social media about the Hong Kong protests. Many feel compelled to call out the government for its hypocrisy, but that will have little impact. China is a superpower that demands authoritarian control of its citizens.

Why Does China Hate VPN?

The protests in Hong Kong and China’s reaction have cast a light on why the Chinese government takes such a strong stand against VPNs. The see the technology as a threat to their ability to control what the rest of the world sees, hears, or reads when it comes to things happening on the other side of the Great Wall.

VPNs in China serve a very important purpose. They are the method by which journalists and dissidents can get information out of the country. There are also Chinese citizens who are engaged in protests against government policies. If these people were discovered the price to pay would be high. They use a VPN to evade the blocks and also to protect their privacy to prevent being discovered.

Of course there are other reasons why someone in China might want to use a VPN. They might be a US citizen working in the country who wants to stay connected to friends and family with Facebook, Maybe someone that is traveling on a vacation would like to access the local news from their city.

China probably doesn’t like this either, but make no mistake. The country is far more concerned with people sending images outside of the country that portray China in an unflattering way. In Hong Kong there was a similar concern. China did not want images of protests to escape the region, especially if the Chinese government was compelled to use force against the protesters.

If you or someone that you know is planning a visit to China, take steps now to get your VPN service from VPN-accounts.com. You may not be able to access our site to purchase a VPN when you arrive on the mainland in China. It is better to take advantage of our generous pricing and secure your VPN service now.

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Famous Poker Pro Advocates Vpn For Online Gambling

Ever since the infamous Black Friday in the US it has been illegal for most US citizens to play online poker. There are a few exceptions such as Nevada which allows online poker, and some states are thinking about legalizing the game. In the meantime there are US players who use a VPN to access online poker sites overseas. One famous poker player believes that using a VPN to play online poker is perfectly okay, and he recently spoke out about it.

Daniel Negreanu – Kid Poker

Daniel Negreanu is one of the most successful poker players of the modern era. He has made a name for himself playing in the World Series of Poker as well as in high stakes cash games in Las Vegas. Negreanu is originally from Toronto, and states that his own upbringing has affected his views on the legality of online poker.

When Negreanu first started playing poker many years ago he was playing in underground games in Toronto. These games were not technically legal. Negreanu compared playing in those games to using a VPN for online poker. The comments that Negreanu has made about VPNs and online poker have caused quite a stir in the online poker community.

The Online Poker VPN Debate

It seems that there are some online poker players who have a problem with US players playing online if doing so is illegal in their state. What a VPN can do is conceal the location of its user, making them appear to be online in an area where online poker is legal. VPNs allow users to connect to servers all over the world. When this happens the IP address of the user is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server.

So, a person in Texas who wants to play online poker cannot do so because it is illegal. This person uses a VPN to play poker and make it appear that they are in another country. A few online poker players have raised objections to this and have even gone so far as to accuse the players using a VPN of cheating. It should be mentioned that these accusations mainly come when a person loses money to someone they suspect of using a VPN.

Negreanu took to his Twitter account to address the issue of VPN usage in online poker. He stated that he did not regard it as unethical or cheating. Then he went farther by posting a poll for his followers. 76% of those who responded did not see any problem with individuals using a VPN for online poker.

Not all people agreed with Daniel Negreanu and his stance on VPNs and online poker. One of the most outspoken of these was Norman Chad, a man who has provided commentary for the live broadcasts of the World Series of Poker. Chad seemed to take more of an issue with Negreanu’s moral stance than the VPN issue, citing several examples where Negreanu gave other controversial issues a pass.

The Future of Online Poker In the US

There may not be a reason to have this debate much longer. Many states in the US are considering legalization of online poker. Some have already introduced bills to do so. Others are also legalizing sports betting and casino games as well. If the trend continues it will be possible for many US residents to play their favorite poker games online without the need for a VPN.

As of now it is still necessary for many players to use a VPN for online poker play. The way that many of them do this is simple. They begin by purchasing VPN service from a provider such as VPNAccounts.com. We have many affordable VPN plans that will work for online poker players.

The next step is to open an account with an overseas online poker site like PokerStars. This is where things can get tricky. The player will be asked to provide an address when they sign up. This address will be used to prove that the player is in an area where online poker is legal. After that, the player must take care to use a VPN server located in the country from which they provided an address.

All that remains is to connect to the VPN, log into the online poker account, and play poker. There are some players who do this for a living from their own home.

Do you live in the US or another area where online gambling is restricted? You might want to consider VPN service. Check out the plans we offer. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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China Welcomes Foreign Investors In Vpn Services

China is a country that has a very tumultuous relationship with VPNs and VPN providers. The government dislikes VPNs so bad that it went so far as to ban sales of them in the country. Now, in a move that is baffling, China is allowing foreign firms to invest in VPN services on a trial basis. Does this signal a change in attitude or is China simply looking to attract foreign investment?

China Relaxing Restrictions Against Your VPN?

China is known for its strict censorship and control of the Internet within its borders. The country currently blocks more than 135 websites with its Great Firewall of China. Some of the restricted websites and services include Google and Facebook. Many messaging apps are also blocked.

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, have been used by people within China to access restricted services. This led to a crackdown on VPN providers by the Chinese government. It essentially forbid the sale of VPNs within China. This left many people in China without a way to restore their access to censored websites.

Now, the government is saying that it will welcome foreign companies that want to invest in VPN technology in China. The State Council approved this move back in January but the government is only now moving forward in its courtship of foreign investors.

What does this mean for you if you have a VPN and want to use it in China? If you already had VPN service before you arrived in China then you have probably had no issues. For those who do not already have a VPN it may become possible to purchase one again from China in the near future. The specifics of how far China is relaxing its VPN restrictions remains unclear.

According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, investment by foreign companies in VPN service is being done to attract foreign telecom operators. It is possible that the censorship of the Internet in China is a deterrent to some companies who want to provide services there. If the measure is understood correctly it is not aimed at the general public but at foreign companies who need VPN service to access blocked websites.

By doing this China could allow a telecom company the ability to bypass its Internet restrictions without letting the general public do the same. It is unknown how the regular citizens of China would react to such a measure. Hong Kong, which is special jurisdiction of China, has recently been rocked with protests regarding democracy. This is not new in China. Every few years it seems there are efforts to advance democracy within the country. All are put down quickly by the government.

The ownership of VPNs by foreign companies will be capped at a 50% interest. It remains to be seen how this new development will affect the use of VPNs in China overall.

China and Internet Control

If you are someone that has visited China in recent years you know just how much control the country exerts over Internet access. The government has always had a vested interest in how much information gets out of the country. They are perhaps even more concerned with this given the negative attention the country has received on the world stage in the past. The demonstrations by students in Tiananmen Square that were crushed by the government made news headlines around the world with video of demonstrators being ran down by Chinese tanks.

It would also be fair to say that the Chinese government sees some Internet services as a threat to its culture. There is also the matter of having control over outside news that is relayed to China. With Internet restrictions the government can try to manage what residents in China can see or hear about the world beyond its borders.

If you plan to visit China anytime soon we strongly suggest that you consider one of the VPN packages provided by VPNAccounts. Our prices are affordable and we have many server locations to choose from. Don’t get locked out by waiting until you arrive in China to buy VPN service. Order today!

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

Google Tracking Purchases with Gmail

Gmail is one of the world’s most popular email platforms. Millions of people use it for personal email and for work. It has recently been revealed that Google is now tracking the purchases Gmail users make online. If you have received a confirmation email from a purchase that you have made, that data has been added to a list of your purchases that you can access from your Google account.

While this may not seem like a big deal to some people, for others it raises a huge red flag. It also raises questions about the liberties Google takes with its users. Let’s look further at the implications of this practice and how some individuals are trying to strengthen their own Internet security.

CNBC Blows the Whistle on Google

According to an article published in May 2019 by CNBC, Google has been saving years of information on purchases made by those who use Gmail. Every time a purchase confirmation is sent to a user’s Gmail address, the information is scraped and retained by Google. The search giant claims that this is done for the convenience of Google users and that it does not use the purchase histories to serve up ads to users.

Anyone with a Google account can visit https://myaccount.google.com/purchases to see the information that Google has collected. Some individuals report that data can go back five years or more. This has many users concerned, and some are angry because they feel like their privacy is being violated.

For its part, Google claims that the feature is done to “help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings, and subscriptions in one place.” A representative for Google also told CNBC that the information is retained in a “private destination that can be seen only by you.”

Google claims that the information that has been collected can be deleted by the user at any time, but CNBC found that removing the purchase information is difficult for most users. Getting rid of the info basically requires you to delete all the receipts in your Gmail inbox as well as all the ones in your archived messages. This process is time consuming and also bothers many users who need to preserve receipts. CNBC confirmed that there is no way to delete the data without deleting every receipt from the Gmail platform.

What has many users concerned is that Google could be using the information that is gleaned from purchase histories to serve up ads with its various advertising platforms. The company denies that it is using the data to influence which ads users see when they browse the web, but many Gmail users are not convinced.

Google, Internet Privacy, and VPNs

Google doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation when it comes to online privacy. The company has come under fire before for how it manages user data. But what does this revelation say about Internet privacy in general? At VPN-accounts.com we think it means people are right to be concerned about their privacy online.

Most people understand that using the Internet comes with risks. One of those is having your personal data or browsing preferences exposed to individuals or even businesses that use such information in unethical ways, often without your knowledge. Google is not the only one to be questioned. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg found himself testifying before the US Congress in regards to Facebook’s privacy policies and how it uses data that is gleaned from users of the social network. The bottom line is that there really is no excuse for not knowing that you are at risk when you browse.

Thankfully, there are ways that you can mitigate the risk of having your data exposed. When it comes to the tracking of purchases by Gmail, the sad fact is that you will be better off using another email provider. If you make a lot of purchases online it may be best to purchase a private email address. To prevent your data from being observed and tracked when you browse the Internet, a VPN is also a good solution.

How a VPN Protects You Against Security Threats

A VPN uses an encrypted connection that exists between your device and the Internet. The data that passes through this encrypted tunnel is encrypted, meaning that it is scrambled in such a way that others cannot see the information. This type of encryption will help when you pass sensitive data across your device.

It should also be said that the websites you shop at should be running their own security protocols. Never buy from a website that does not use an SSL and other methods of data protection.

VPNs are also useful should you find yourself in the circumstance of needing to access restricted websites and services. Some countries do not permit certain web applications like Skype or messenger services like WhatsApp. You will also find that your Netflix account is blocked when you travel abroad. A VPN replaces your IP address with the IP address of its own server which can be located in the US or other countries the VPN offers. It will appear to the web service that you are accessing the site from your own country.

VPNs also help you get rid of browsing data that may be tracked by others that use your computer. There are no logs kept by most VPN providers of your browsing activity.

Remember, the Internet can be a scary place. Take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and you will have a more pleasant and peaceful experience online.

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.

Using The Wrong Vpn Can Be Dangerous

Quite a few people understand the benefits of using a VPN. What many of them might not know is that choosing the wrong VPN can be even worse than using no VPN at all. Some services may increase your exposure to security threats. Here are some important things to consider when choosing your VPN provider.

Choosing the Wrong VPN is a Common Security Mistake

Browsing the Internet shouldn’t be so complicated. It should be as simple as making your connection and viewing your chosen websites without worrying about things like hackers stealing your personal information. In a perfect world you would never have to be concerned about harmful malware that websites could place on your computer.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Most people today recognize that some type of security is necessary for online browsing. Some of those who aren’t too computer savvy think that an anti-virus program will do the trick. Others rely on some type of firewall without really knowing what a firewall is and how it works. Still others believe that a malware remover will be suitable for protection. All of these are good measures, but none of them accomplish what a VPN can do for your personal security.

A VPN works by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Internet. Any information that is passed along that tunnel is virtually indistinguishable to information thieves. A VPN can also help to conceal your physical location by replacing your IP address with that of your VPN provider. These are just a few of the measures VPNs help to safeguard your privacy.

It is a sad reality that all VPNs are not created equal. Nor do they have the same approaches to security. Some VPNs may even defeat the purpose of security by selling your information to third-party advertisers. Some may include malware and spyware. You should do your homework before choosing which provider you want to work with. Choosing the wrong VPN could be worse than having no VPN at all.

Steps to Finding a Good VPN

It pays to take a logical approach when choosing a VPN. There are many factors that good VPN services have in common. You want to tick off as many of these boxes as possible before you make your choice.

A good VPN will have a sound reputation. Do a Google search to see what information you can find about the provider. The company should have some degree of transparency about its operations, and there should not be an abundance of bad reviews online. You might also want to ask any friends which VPN they use and how they feel about it. If any red flags pop up, abandon the VPN and keep searching.

Ask yourself what standards you want in a VPN. Most people want a VPN that does not retain traffic logs of its users. Others want a VPN with many server options. Some want a VPN that does not rely on third-party advertising for income. You need to determine which of these standards are important to you and find a provider that meets them all.

It would also be very useful to make sure your VPN provider is in compliance with any existing government regulations. Some governments have taken a hard stance on VPNs, even going so far as to make their use illegal. You don’t want to choose a provider and pay for a year of service when there is a substantial threat that the company could be shut down.

Realize that you will have to pay for quality VPN service. There is no such thing as free when it comes to a VPN. If the VPN is not charging you for service, you are paying in other ways. Those other ways could be having your information sold to marketing companies or having adware placed on your device. It is possible, however, to find an affordable VPN like the one we offer at VPNAccounts.com. Affordable and free are two different things. There is no way around paying for a VPN if you want trustworthy service.

You also want your VPN to be a full-scale provider, offering encryption from top to bottom. Make sure they have the most recent security protocols in place and that they protect you at the maximum level. More servers in more locations means you’ll have better VPN service if you are an expat or do a lot of traveling.

Be Cautious With VPNs and BitTorrent

For some people it is very popular to use a VPN to access BitTorrent websites where media, music, software, porn, and other things are illegally downloaded. We’re not in a position to tell you how to browse the Internet. What you do is your business. What we will tell you is that VPNs which allow users to access BitTorrent websites are becoming increasingly rare. Simply put, it is not worth the risk to the VPN provider. If the provider is found to permit access to these sites, they could find themselves in legal trouble.

You might want to select a VPN that does not permit BitTorrent access. There is much less chance that you will have a problem. If this type of illegal downloading is your thing, it will probably be necessary for you to choose another method.

If you are ready to obtain quality VPN service at an affordable cost, check out the VPN plans offered by VPN-accounts.com. We have options for everyone, and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have about VPNs and how they can protect you.

3 Steps for a VPN

01

Sign upGet an affordable VPN account.

02

ConnectConfigure the VPN on your device.

03

Enjoy VPNEnjoy the benefits of a VPN today.

Get a VPN Account

Connect & Enjoy: Internet Freedom, Privacy & security.