As World Wide Web celebrates 28 years, its founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee noted that in many ways it has lived up to the vision of being an open platform "that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries."
However, one of the main concerns expressed in an open letter is the lack of privacy and increased government surveillance, especially observed in the past 12 months.
According to Berners-Lee, people often do not mind when their private data is collected - but "we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it." In addition, people are helpless when it comes to "a way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share." In addition, government surveillance has gone to great lengths, which "creates a chilling effect on free speech."
In addition, in the same week, The United Nations' special rapporteur on privacy, Prof. Joseph Cannataci, has sharply criticized new surveillance laws, particularly in France, Germany, the UK and the US as the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy." According to him, the solution is "fair and regulated surveillance while balancing the introduction of privacy-friendly safeguards."
NordVPN, a Virtual Private Network, has been a vocal critic of increased government surveillance for a long time. "Modern democracies should avoid such authoritarian surveillance methods as bulk hacking of thousands of computers, keeping Internet records for years and viewing them without a warrant, or legally obliging ISPs to assist in hacking and decryption," said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.
Opening the door for governments to access web browsing data and metadata makes everyone’s online activity vulnerable as the open gap can be potentially exploited by hackers and fraudsters or other governments and their spies. Furthermore, accessing and later sharing the vulnerable information among government agencies and those collecting the data (i.e. UK ISPs) might be a big threat in itself, as private data can be mishandled or intercepted.
Ever more frequent news about massive data breaches show that Internet-enabled devices are now significantly less secure, with more users than ever searching to find ways to strengthen their online privacy and protection. Many become first-time subscribers to encryption based services, like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that offer a strong data protection beyond the device’s built-in settings. "VPNs are a solution for people to stay private online while the governments realize that a number of recent laws are too intrusive," explains NordVPN’s Marty P. Kamden.
VPN - such as NordVPN - encrypts user's Internet traffic data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet. This protects sensitive information and user’s data , as Virtual Private Networks connect a user to Internet through an alternative path. In the past 12 months, NordVPN has seen an increase in inquiries from UK, US, France, Canada, Germany and Australia, indicating that the citizens of these countries are especially worried about their privacy.
As additional precaution, NordVPN recommends that its clients use custom NordVPN apps, which have toughest security protocols set-up by default. Using NordVPN apps also ensures access to up-to-date updates and access to the latest servers. NordVPN is very easy to use (by just pressing an ON button) and has a strict no log policy. Therefore, all online activity of NordVPN users is not only safely encrypted, but it is never recorded.
For staying safe online, there are other services that users should consider besides a VPN, such as ProtonMail for safe emailing, Signal for encrypted messaging and DuckDuckGo for private browsing experience.
NordVPN, like many other VPN service providers, believes in barrier-free Internet and online privacy, and feels that instead of weakening online encryption, governments should work towards protecting people’s privacy and online security. Hopefully, the 29th anniversary of World Wide Web will mark the time when web is becoming safer for all its users.
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