On April 13th, 2017, the mandatory data retention scheme fully went into effect. And what it means for us normal folks, is that all of our metadata will be recorded by telecommunication companies for up to two years.
This includes personal details such as email Id’s, phone numbers, time, date as well as location and the length of the communication with each and every service.
What do you mean by metadata?
Metadata refers to the information that leads to another set of data. This includes things like titles, codes, etc.
In this instance, it will mean your computers IP address, time of day when you connect to a website, your actual physical location from where you accessed it, URL of the target website, the length of the session, etc.
Will this law affect my online privacy?
Yes, of course, it will. Everything you do will be seen and recorded by government agencies. Even the ones that have no reason even to have access to it.
If it were just law enforcement agencies, it would make sense, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission having access to this kind of information serve no real purpose.
Many people have spoken out against this scheme, and for a good reason. When you start sacrificing your privacy for this so-called safety, you will get neither.
Do I need a VPN service?
So now that the government can see everything you, AND how long you do it for on the internet, what other options are there? A VPN is the answer to all your prayers.
A Virtual Private Network has its network of servers that are located all over the globe.
How they work is that they connect your computer to a server from their network. Now this server will act as your intermediary, a middleman of sorts.
Between you and the internet. Let’s say you want to access a website, what your internet service provider will see is that you are connected to a private network, and that is the extent of the information they will be getting their grubby little hands on.
No matter which website you access, from where or for how long, will be kept completely private from everyone else.
That is because not even the VPN service providers keep a log of their user’s transaction. All VPN providers (that I know about) have a very strict no logs policy.
So, depending on your needs and preferences, you can go for several options.
It also has a few other protocols to choose from, meaning if you don’t want to pay extra for any other added services, you don’t have to.
A VPN service will also keep you completely anonymous from any prying eyes. Not even the website you access will have any idea who you are.