Attention Hijacking, AI, Elon Musk and Other Revelations

The Rise Of Surveillance Capitalism. The truth.

Photo Credit: The Matrix, movie screenshot

As the book Funky Business puts it “the internet is neither good or bad- the internet just is.” Noting a few possible scenarios of how we could use the internet to do harm or good, the book goes to show that the simple inventory of all the things that could go wrong with the internet, also means missing the point and a lot of opportunity.

Today, almost 2 decades after the release of Funky Business, several other important business books are heavily criticizing the market capitalism, raising cause for concern on what capitalism is turning into in the internet, digitalized age. These theories bring to the forefront more of the negative scenarios that could potentially turn dark, in the internet age, stating valid reasons for concern.

Some of the predictions in these books have since come true, on both sides, good and bad, the whole nine yards.

We clearly see today how we are shifting to a new form of capitalism, something called “surveillance capitalism” as Soshana Zuboff predicted, e-business guru and former Harvard professor. This new kind of political and economical system predicted by Zuboff relies on a business model that is looking to hook us all together to this larger than life networks, constantly profiting off one valuable resource: our undivided attention, cashing in on customer data extraction.

Attention, a commodity that can be sold

Photo: Post-Truth Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration by Guillo H

But let’s just layoff for a while from books and theories and focus on attention (yeah, you read that right let’s focus on focus itself). You know how people usually say that “the internet offers free access to information” right? Well, think again. What if I told you that the information you are receiving, no matter the medium, is not really free. It comes at the cost of your attention. In other words, information consumes attention. And in the internet age, that means that attention is a commodity that can be sold. Now I know it all sounds straight out of a Morpheus meme, the charismatic Matrix character offering you a choice between the red and the blue pill, but it’s all true ( You hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability).

There are studies that show the exact dollar figure of your attention down to the hour. For Youtube for example, your attention can be estimated as being worth 4 cents an hour , for the company (You can read more on what is called attention hijacking in “The attention economy is eating our brains” by Dorian Peters here).

Not only does the internet age create products out of your gray matter, but it can also lead to excessive surveillance and the atomization of a police state, proving extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

For the time being having a VPN in place is a real solution to overturn the effects of excessive surveillance or of any surveillance for that matter. Having your consumer data travel trough an encrypted tunnel from end to end, such a simple yet effective tool as a VPN can prove really helpful for anyone valuing privacy, while bypassing geo-restrictions to access content worldwide.

AI, a game of clones

3D Rendering Credit: Steve Barrett, Embrio III

But the latest word buzz in technology is not surveillance, nor is it attention, it comes in the form of AI. Perhaps many of us know Elon Musk’s technology endeavors, when it comes to electric cars, high speed transportation, reusable cargo rockets or solar panels through Tesla, Hyperloop, Space X and Solar City. However fewer have heard of his neurotechnology company Neuralink. Neuralink is a neuroscience company basically looking to build an interface for the brain.

In the HBO series Axios, Elon Musk shares a few revelations about AI technologies and how we could avoid the dangers and employ it instead for the greater good of humanity:

“Probably a bigger risk than being hunted down by a drone is that AI would be used to make incredibly effective propaganda that we’re not seeing like propaganda, influence the direction of society, influence elections. Artificial intelligence just hones the message, hones the message, checks, looks at the feedback, makes the message slightly better within milliseconds, it can adapt its message and shift and react to news.” Elon Musk, Axios, HBO serie, season 1, episode 3 — watch an extract of the interview here.

When asked about the interface to the brain Neuralink is trying to develop and when could such an interface implant be available, Elon Musk says: “It’s probably on the order of a decade. And by the way, you kindda have this already, in a weird way in that you have a digital tertiary layer in the form of your phone, your computers, you basically have this computing devices that form a tertiary layer on your cognition. Already.”

Easy to understand why so many studies show that we are in fact hard wired to like these digital constructs that could one day become a part of our biology.

All in all, we don’t know wether Elon is an enthusiast when he predicts one decade until these new technologies could be out on the market or if it’s in fact an accurate estimation of time. They laughed at Jules Verne and boy have they laughed at Elon. In the end however, he seems to always have the last laugh, even if that laugh is a little bitter.

Till then, reminding ourselves that attention is a finite resource, that putting our focus where we need it and leaving it there despite distractions is a job we have the responsibility to achieve on our own.

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out To Get You.

Most Coveted Security Apps For ios That Actually Work

Photo Credit: Pink, illustration by Federico Piccirillo

As a rule, general and mundane, Apple devices come with built-in, default, security features, end-to-end encryption in the case of iMessage and generally have their own settings for protection purposes.

Nonetheless, one should remain wary about urban myths such as “Apple devices can’t get hacked”, as all devices including Apple’s are vulnerable and can be hacked particularly easier if you follow the above flawed logic.

As the online privacy issue plot thickens, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we might in fact be talking about internet privacy posthumously, as so many cybersecurity advocated are finding online privacy to be, well, dead.

Is this an exaggeration or is it the actual state of affairs of 2018’s internet, you be the judge! Looking at the major global security events of this year in retrospect might shed a light.

Photo Credit: Pink, illustration by Federico Piccirillo

Starting with the inglorious attempt to block online privacy regulations, made by the US Senate and the House decision, in early April and then the Facebook scandal the same month, followed by the repeal of net neutrality in May- Is it far fetched to say that 2018 was ringing alarm bells in online security? Or is this just the new-normal, a dystopian flavored reality that we all live in and maybe the inherent course of events, given the nature of the internet and what it means today to people, corporations and governments alike?

Add to the mix that much to the surprise of people supporting ideas like “let’s build a wall”, today’s threats are likely to come from the inside. Madonna was right all along, “the enemy is not out there, the enemy is within”. Take that republicans!

Not slipping into an endless rhetoric around the topic of internet security and how you can only get a migraine from pondering the new philosophical digital paradigm, is probably for the better here (especially since I don’t know any migraine remedies). Lucky enough I do have some security advice and that’s all we should be focusing on, so next time if you skip the whole intro to get to the practical point, I won’t mind.

Here are some of the most coveted security apps for your iOS devices, designed to give you an extra layer of security:

  1. 1Password

Keeps all your passwords safe, all in one place.

screenshot from the App Store

1Password is described by its creators as a tool that “remembers all your passwords for you, and keeps them safe and secure behind the one password that only you know.[..] Just add your passwords and let 1Password do the rest.” You can use the tool to periodically re-new your passwords with new strong ones that lo and behold, you don’t have to remember.

2. 1Blocker

a native Safari content blocker entirely supported by its users. You’ll be able to block ads, ad networks, scripts designed to track your activity and many more. Just give it a spin!

3. MyIP.io

a reliable VPN service that keeps your data extra safe, traveling through a tunnel encrypted from end to end, so nobody, not even your ISP will be able to make sense of it, since all your information will go through the VPN server and not your ISP’s. You will also be able to bypass geo-restriction.

4. Signal

encrypted messaging and voice-calling similar with Telegraph or Wire.

5. Keeply

will store your data creating alternate passwords for different levels of access to your device.

Online Security in the Post-Truth Era

Photo: Post-Truth Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration by Guillo H

Humanist studies of the XXIst century postulate that beyond the objective and subjective realm of reality, therein lies a 3rd dimension: the intersubjective level.

The intersubjective realm of reality is also a recurrent theme in Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus, part I, where the author carries forward the idea of meaning and how we as homo sapiens designate it.

The notion of post truth seems to be talking about similar ideas or at least to be one effect of the core intersubjective reality we all live in, since the beginning of articulated speech. Post-truth however, is a relatively new term, absorbed by the Oxford Dictionary in 2016 as the international word of the year.

Bear in mind that 2016 was also the year UK voted in favor of Brexit and Trump was elected the leader of the “free world”, so along came the word, organically, to describe the new zeitgeist.

Photo: Truth and Lie Illustration by Ether Gzirishvili

“Post-truth” is used to describe a political culture “in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored”. (source: Wikipedia)

According to a serious body of science we may all be living in a post-truth age, an age in which global warming is discredited and denied even, and where social media is used to manipulate, polarise and divert from objective facts, while exploiting common subjective fears and opinion.

In the sharing, internet economy, data is the currency, an informational and economic asset capable of traveling the speed of light in a vacuum, when going through state of the art optical fibers. Able to operate at 99.7% the speed of light according to researchers at the University of Southampton in England. (source: Extreme Tech)

Photo: Math Men, illustration

The digital world is now creating tangible value from big data so expect internet privacy to take an even more prominent route in the future.

Nowadays, security must come in layers, not only in the corporate environment, but on a personal level also.

Here are a few things you might want to consider for an overall improved security of your online privacy and data.

Get a VPN service for all your devices:

The number one thing you need to get in line with is having a VPN connection. It’s really simple to use and just like that poof! your data travels through an encrypted tunnel, safe from prying eyes and encrypted all the while. You basically need to pay a monthly subscription and rock on. It’s important that you don’t chose a free VPN as free VPN services are sure to get their profits elsewhere and it’s usually on your broadband expense. So avoid using unreliable free services that offer protection, but are in fact jeopardizing it.

Taking hold of your own digital footprint requires savvy, educated users, that know their rights and are not willing to compromise when it comes to their own privacy.

It’s easy to understand why more and more people resort to using a VPN service, rather than letting their information “fly” to unknown servers where they can be stored indefinitely.

Password Managers

Another simple step you can take to ensure your passwords are strong and that you have them all in order. Passwords managers are not written in stone, so naturally they can be hacked, but is far less likely to have your password hacked than it is to have one and the same password for multiple platforms and have your data compromised by relying on your memory alone.

2Factor Authentification

We know it can be annoying to have an extra layer of access when you’re in a hurry, but remember you will not be prompted with a 2fact auth method if you don’t switch devices often.

Back Up

Back up is the most obvious security measure that you can take, but people are often just not doing it. Regardless if you back up locally on a hard drive or in the cloud, you can do the extra mile and encrypt everything before backing up your data and you can be certain that your data is safe or that you can at least do a roll back to the most recent version previously saved.

Taking a few measures to securely navigate the valley of post-truth are of the essence in fearing no evil. Keeping our heads clear and taking action to protect the digital environment we expose ourselves to on a daily, without having to go to extreme lengths to do so, is the way to go in 2018.

Having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service . This platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions: Personal, Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time. Whatever provider you may chose, remember that the smart approach is to use a VPN service that you feel is the best match for you. Until then, stay smart, use a VPN!

IP Proxy Services aka VPNs, A Safe Haven After The Net Neutrality Repeal

Photo Credit:Safe & Sorry, illustration by Kurzgesagt

A popular way to refer to a Virtual Private Network or a VPN is the term “ip proxy” a much more popular notion conveying a somewhat more self explanatory meaning. A VPN is thus a tool anyone can have in place to bypass geo restrictions, add another layer of security to their internet connections and finally  getting around the economics and politics of what is ultimately a bandwidth battle among serious players. On the economic side of things we have a new “bright” and “exciting” idea  called bandwidth throttling. This is something that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is now able to do without notice under the auspices of the new FCC rules – representing the political side of this affair.  Bandwidth throttling means that your ISP can slow down your connection if you happen to access service that your ISP is not partnered with. At the same time, your ISP could also create “fast lanes” to preferred partners creating unfair disadvantages if for example you watch Netflix, instead of Hulu.

Photo Credit:Safe & Sorry, illustration by Kurzgesagt

 

GETTING UNDER THE WIRE

Rather than getting wrapped in all the media headlines and speculation, we say it’s time we cut a shortcut through all the debate and aim for a solution to overthrow the effects of net neutrality repeal. It all sounds very sophisticated, but net neutrality is actually a common thing that can affect your internet connection in a very “tangible” way. If your ISP is no longer legally binded to remain neutral, think of how they can affect your connection by throttling access to services they are not partnered with.

The simplest way to go around this and regain control over the situation is to set yourself up with a VPN service. For example, under the new rules, you could be charged more for accessing Hulu instead of Netflix. With a VPN in place however, your ISP won’t even know what you are accessing, since all your data will appear encrypted.

 

BEFORE BUYING A VPN

But which VPN to pick, you may ask? Since your VPN provider can pretty much know all your ISP knows, it is important to chose a reliable one, ideally with a zero log policy. To spare you the trouble of reviewing different VPN services, we tested things like speed, encryption, locations and costs as main indicators of a good VPN service forMyIP.io VPN.

Here are the features that we you will most definitely find a value in when using our service:

1. High Speed: Fast uploads even for big transfers.

2. Open Ports: Not many VPNs will allow you to use PPTP and even fewer will help you use this feature by guiding you on how to do it. MyIP.io offers comprehensive support given by a very responsive customer support team.

3. Static IPs: Usually an extra feature, static IPs are marketed at extra fees. On a MyIP.io you’ll get a static IP on a $5 plan.

4. Cost: You’ll pay less than $6 if you go with an annual subscription and $8 for a monthly. The costs are even lower for a dynamic IP, which comes with the “personal plan” for less than $3 a month.

5. Master VPN Account for teams: If you decide to go with the “business plan” we will allocate a whole subnet to you or engineer a custom solution to meet your needs. In a nutshell, the business VPN solution allows multiple accounts into one master deck, a convenient scenario in term of having control, management and payment. Simultaneous connections up to 50, on this plan.

6. Strong Encryption and a Zero Logs Policy: My IP.io comes bundled with all the strong encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols such as SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher. They will not keep any logs of your activity on their server, so you can be sure no 3rd party is spying on your data.

7. Locations: You’ll have a diverse location offering to chose from with My IP.io that you can use to bypass geo-restrictions.

In the end, whatever you chose, be aware that a VPN provider is the middleman between you and the world wide web, so make sure you get a reliable one that ticks all your boxes. For us, that’s MyIP.io.

KEY IDEAS THAT YOU CAN KEEP AND CALL YOUR OWN:

hoto Credit:Safe & Sorry, illustration by Kurzgesagt

With all the crazy headlines surrounding the online security, net neutrality ordeals, you kind of get the feeling that it’s been a pretty intense year. But wait 2018 it’s only half way through and signs of weird outcomes are seen almost everywhere, counting the World Cup results as one.

Whether it’s the Facebook scandal, self-driving cars or politics, there’s no denying that technology is taking over and chances are you are affected by all or at least some of these narratives.

Out of the bunch, net neutrality is the one we are focusing on here and how you can circumvent it.

Summing up, the common sense solution to go around net neutrality repeal is to set yourself up with a VPN service. If you take nothing but the main idea from this written material, this is it:

First, make sure your VPN provider has a zero logs policy. Most of VPN providers will claim they don’t keep logs, but will in fact document logging data that they can trace back to you. Going with a service that can not keep this information by design, like MyIP.io, is an exciting option.

And second, beware of throttling of traffic. Your ISP might try and throttle VPN traffic, however it is difficult for your ISP to do so since it can affect all traffic, including the one that goes to their partners and customers.

All in all, net neutrality could be at some point in the future revoked, but even if it is, naturally there will be a great deal of back and forth in this kind of matter. Attempts for another repeal might and will be pushed forward, if the case. ISPs have a lot at stake to simply give in that easy. While fighting a good cause is important, we think that focusing on circumventing the effects of net neutrality repeal is equally important. Especially since, going around it, requires just a simple education and making sure that we’re a bit more savvy then yesterday, when it comes to our individual rights and preserving them in an increasingly digitalized world.

Your Google Activity Should Be Nobody’s Business. How to take charge of your data.

Photo Credit: Google Space, illustration by Muhammad Rifqi Rizaldy

Your Google Activity Should Be Nobody’s Business. Literally. There are businesses taking place in the search bar and far beyond, not only pay per click systems but extensive data collection of all your Google activity, is at the basis of high profiling well.. you, with a big emphasis on your shopping preferences or political affiliation.

Taking a privacy stance when it comes to using the internet is the new “drink responsibly”, so prior to feeling entitled to a private life while online, let’s just start with a clear mind in recognizing how much of what we put out there is actually in our power, slash hands, slash keyboards. And yet another important amendment before we get started, let’s also rise above the inclination of brand association, of trying to find a scape goat. Meaning that regardless if it’s Facebook, Google or big telecom names like say Verizon or Comcast, whichever the brand hype media is taking a stand towards, let’s just admit that privacy breaches and privacy concerns are virtually everywhere. High and low.

So, with realistic expectations of what the online environment means today from two main perspectives as informational medium and marketing tool, we can manage to reach a clearer understanding of what to do in order to preserve privacy, while enjoying all of the perks the online world brings to the table.

Credit Photo: Digital Trip, illustration by Caparo design crew

Today we focus on Google activity and how you can disable it. Google knows a lot about our digital personas, as I would not go as deep into saying that Google knows us, since I remain loyal to the idea that our multifaceted lives and personalities can not be reduced to our digital footprint. And yet the thought of having a personal record with everything you’ve ever clicked on, every character you’ve ever typed in, it’s none the less disenchanting. Bare in mind though, that deleting or disabling such functionalities will not guarantee that your data is being deleted from Google’s servers altogether, but it will sure keep your browsing history from following you around. On the other hand don’t always think that companies like Google or Facebook have all the frivolous reasons to store your data. On many occasions this set of information is used for a better overall experience with the product a particular company is selling, wether is tangible or a service. On top of that, for users performing illegal activities while online, the data Google stores about them can prove very helpful in identifying suspicious or fraudulent activity and in this case, depending on the country’s jurisdiction, Google can be asked under a search warrant or subpoena to provide logs to authorities. This is something that Google admits openly in their annual Transparency Report.

Long story short, if you simply feel more comfortable having your google activity disabled and you’re not looking for any trouble while online, your browsing data should be safe from prying eyes once you get to manage the data Google stores on you.

Credit Photo: Digital Trip, illustration by Caparo design crew

I also find that deleting this data is a good step in preventing the engine in always feeding you what you previously searched for or viewed. That alone can be an enormous black hole you may find yourself into, especially in the case of Youtube, that you can also manage from your Google activity page.

For all the information stored by Google such as your location stored in maps, your contacts stored in calendars and apps, your voice stored in voice searches, your Youtube search and watch history, there’s a disable function you probably never heard about. Here’s a simple and safe guide on how to delete or disable unwanted functions in your Google activity page.

  1. Back up 
    If you’re feeling nostalgic you can download your data before deleting anything by going to Google Takeout here.
    You will receive an email when the download is complete containing a link where you can download your data.

2. Google Activity 
Here you can delete virtually all Google searches.

3. Stop or Pause Your Web and App Activity

After deleting searches you will want to get Google to stop or maybe pause your activity from being stored, you can do that in your Activity Controls Page, the Web and App section here.

For enhanced privacy, people are also turning to VPNs to reclaim or preserve online freedom and privacy and we strongly advice that you do the same.

No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.

Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, not even your ISP will be able make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online data happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.

But it’s not just Google or your ISP that keeps track of your browsing data, it’s your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same.

Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they created by charging extra for privacy.

Having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , The platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.

Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

VPNs: Why So Many People turn to Them And Why You’re Missing Out For not Using One

Photo Credit: illustration by Joshua Harvey

Setting yourself up with a reliable, robust VPN service is a real solution to overturn the effects of net neutrality repeal.

Under the new FCC regulation, an ISP has the liberty of charging you more if you watched Netflix instead of Hulu, creating “fast lanes” and unfair advantages to preferred partners. Don’t think your ISP would do that if given the chance? Well, it’s already happening, since net neutrality repeal has gone into effect on June 11th.

With the present “state of affairs” there is no doubt that the online environment is becoming increasingly politicized and the concept of a open but safe internet is in the midst of powerful forces of antagonistic interests fighting each other. A balance between these forces is a desiderate for a healthy environment that we’re not sure how or when we’re going to achieve.

WHAT TO DO?

In the meantime, people are turning to VPNs to preserve access and to reclaim online freedom and privacy and we strongly advice that you do the same.

We tested a few VPN services in terms of speed, security and customer support and MyIP.io stays top of mind. They offer static IPs at no extra costs, have super fast speed for uploads and unparalleled cost to feature ratios.

No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.

Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, your ISP will not be able to block access or make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online activity happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.

But it’s not just your ISP that keeps track of your browsing data, it’s your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same. Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they created by charging extra for privacy.

Moreover, it’s not just the American net neutrality repeal, UK also passed a bill that basically allows internet history snooping, the infamous bill is known as the Snooper’s Charter (suggestively enough!). This British bill requires that every ISP keeps your search history for 1 full year.

And matters seem to only get worse in the future. Taking hold of your own digital footprint requires savvy, educated users, that know their rights and are not willing to compromise when it comes to their own privacy.

It’s easy to understand why more and more people resort to using a VPN service, rather than letting their information “fly” to unknown servers where they can be stored indefinitely.

An exact break down of all the things you can use a VPN for would maybe further clarify this topic.

We listed the most popular ones we could think of:

1. Torrents

Torrents are not all illegal, but for an ISP is really difficult to set the legal ones from the illicit, so very often that not they block this kind of activity. Having a VPN in place will camouflage the subject of your downloads and will make it harder for your ISP to track and block torrenting.

2. Security

Think of your health records, your banking details and other sensitive information that you might use while online. A VPN will encrypt that information and will keep your connection secure at all times.

3.Geo-restricted content

Every time you travel you get a different set of content according to your location. Sticking to your country of residence through a VPN while outside the country will leave your content unchanged, like say your Netflix catalog. On the other hand, changing your IP location to one that allows you to watch the World Cup in Russia as it happens is also a VPN away.

4. Research or journalism

Research data or revealing a sensitive issue to the public through journalism is something that people might strive extra to acquire access to. Having that data encrypted through the help of a VPN will spare you the trouble.

5. VOIP services

Using services like Skype or FaceTime to interact to your peers at work, may be a common thing inside your company. VOIP security is still lagging behind, but a VPN will help secure your connections, so you don’t have to.

6. Public Wi-Fi in airports or coffee shop

Notorious for welcoming prying eyes, airports and public Wi-Fi spots are not to be used sans VPN protection.

8. Gaming

Your connection to your gaming comrades can be direct through a VPN, resulting in increased load times and limited buffer overflows. You will also be able to get the latest releases of your favorite games as they happen and not wait for them to hit your location upon schedule.

10. Checking your competition out

It’s pretty easy for anyone to track the source of their traffic through their Analytics account so you too can be spotted checking your competition out. You can still do that undisturbed and anonymous with the help of a VPN service.

Having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service . This platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions: Personal, Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time. Whatever provider you may chose, remember that the smart approach is to use a VPN service that you feel is the best match for you. Until then, stay smart, use a VPN!

The Link Tax, The Censorship Machines And The Balkanisation Of The Web

Photo Credit: illustration by Guillaume Kurkdjian, “Should we dismantle Google?”

You would think that passing a law to regulate link sharing or to validate intellectual ownership of content is a good thing in designating credible sources and ultimately delivering accurate information to the final user. Well, think again. In an attempt to modernise copyright law, the new Copyright Directive approved on Wednesday by the EU, raises cause for concern under three articles that seem to have control of informational flow at stake. If passed in January of next year, in the current form, the bill might damage the way we use the internet and online freedom of expression in a major way. Let’s brake down these three articles and what they stand for.

1. Article 11: News Aggregators — this article forces news aggregators like say Facebook, Reddid, Medium or Google News to have paid licenses in place for every which pixel and character of copy they share. Now, it all sounds just, but it’s still a double edged sword, as there will be an euro exchange for sharing or quoting content, which limits the access to information for the humble user and increases visibility of any paying outlet. Forcing licensing on news aggregators is nothing new, as similar attempts have been made in 2014 by both Germany and Spain, when Google neutralized the attempt by simply de-listing german and spanish news sites from their index. Article 11 however, might have much more profound implications, if passed. Cutting ties with the informational flow coming from 2 countries is one thing, cutting ties with all of unified europe is another. Having news aggregators diminish quantity over quality by being more selective is an ideal that we’re still not sure how we’re going to achieve as imposing paid licensing might not bring much relief, but the exact opposite.

2. Article 12a: Photos and Videos taken at sport matches — recording videos or taking pictures with your phone while at a sport match and publishing them is labeled as copyright violation, under this article. In other words, organisers will impose heavy barriers to outsiders in what sharing, publishing, presenting, reproducing or recording is concerned. That might lead to an entire fan culture to be filtered out by social platforms or news aggregators that will be forced to comply.

3. Article 13: Copyright Filters — any content flagged as infringement will be monitored by automated detection systems, under the new law. It sure sounds like a good thing, but given the lack of detail in what the implementation might be, this article too might bring much more chaos and a widespread, not necessarily positive impact. Online Censorship being one of them. Google will survive, but mid size companies won’t. Some platforms like github could potentially lose the ability to operate in the EU, any forum would be at risk, becoming giant copyright liabilities.

Failing to redefine these articles, might lead to permanent surveillance, damaging the open and free internet as we know it with great implication on innovation, proving that sometimes the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Just as in the case of net neutrality repeal in the USA, these articles of the EU directive are seen as enemies of innovation. Advocates of net neutrality argue in the favor of keeping an unobstructed online field as a vital part of innovation. Their concern is very valid and should be a cause worth fighting for all of us.

Net neutrality broadly means that all content available on the internet should be equally accessible, it’s a philosophy that puts big ideas and big money on equal grounds- preventing american providers like Comcast and Verizon to block some data while prioritizing others. In other words big companies shouldn’t be blocking users from accessing services like Netflix in an effort to sell their own cable package or for the purpose of making users buy a streaming video service bundle sold by your ISP.

Otherwise, if broadband providers start picking favorites, new technology might never see the light of day. To understand that assertion, imagine you had your ISP blocking or limiting access to video streaming when services like Youtube came to shape, 18 years ago. Had that been the case, Youtube might not even exist today or would only be accessible upon paying extra fees to your ISP. A very unpleasant prospect, we agree.

In the case of net neutrality repeal, having a VPN in place can help you overturn its effects.

Under the new FCC regulation, an ISP has the liberty of charging you more if you watched Netflix instead of Hulu, creating “fast lanes” and unfair advantages to preferred partners. Don’t think your ISP would do that if given the chance? Well, it’s already happened as stated before, since 2004, coming up to AT&T’s Facetime ban and again in 2014 and 2017 when Verizon slowed down Netflix traffic.

While California’s S.B. 822 is becoming the poster child for states looking to keep net neutrality in place by voting its own rules, not all states have the luxury to do so.

Getting back to the Copyright Directive, whether this new law will empower content creators or cause more harm then good is still unclear. One think is certain, if the directive passes in its current form, things will get much more chaotic, before they start to order and actually make sense. If voted in the spring of next year, member states will have two years to implement it. Expect some large platforms to stop service in Europe- as we saw happening post GDPR implementation. Some might decide to just geo-block services for a while. When or if that happens, you know what you have to do. And by that we mean that turning to a VPN service might prove very helpful in this case, too.

All in all there is no doubt that the online environment is becoming increasingly politicized and the concept of a open but safe internet is in the midst of powerful forces of antagonistic interests fighting each other. A balance between these forces is a desiderate for a healthy environment that we’re not sure how or when we’re going to achieve.

In the meantime, people are turning to VPNs to preserve access and to reclaim online freedom and privacy and we strongly advice that you should do the same.

No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.

Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, your ISP will not be able to block access or make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online data happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.

But it’s not just your ISP that keeps track of your browsing data, it’s your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same.

Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they created by charging extra for privacy.

Having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , The platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.

Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

8 Months In Retrospect: Global Privacy in 2018

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Starting with Facebook scandal in April and following with net neutrality repeal in May, 2018 is ringing alarm bells in online security and rightly so with a double sworded twist, both on the technology and law enforcement standpoints. Digital privacy concerns culminated however this summer, when both Russia and China decided to ban VPN services, thus preventing government censorship to be undermined by virtual private networks any longer or by other anonymous browsing tools.

While China is leading the censorship through technology control, detecting and blocking server infrastructure used by VPN providers, Russia went on a more bureaucratic path, by creating more draconic rules against VPNs, enforced by law.

Yet, neither one of these two examples comes as a surprise. China’s two decade long “Great Firewall” and Kremlin’s legal web spinned gradually over a 6 year period, starting roughly in 2012, lagging behind China’s much more complex technical apparatus, none of which were the least subtle in the first place, but rather indicative of the exact dystopian reality of today’s digital world.

It was early this August that Apple succumbed to China’s requirement to remove some of the VPNs from the chinese App Store front. And the case is far from being singular. Amazon and The New York Times too recognized that doing business in China means to play by chinese rules and ultimately caved to the country’s censorship apparatus. Maybe a small price to pay in order to tap in the massive chinese market.

Beyond the gated community of the Chinese Great Firewall, the “Chinese wall” abbreviation is today a business term, spreading its meaning to international affairs, imposing heavy entry barriers to outsiders.

Just a year ago, Uber the ride-hailing giant, capitulated to its Chinese competitor Didi, announcing the selling of its Chinese operations to Didi Chuxing, the homegrown favorite.

Even though circumvention tools are little used by ordinary Chinese, for the vast majority of westerners based in China, a VPN download is a common habit, just as drinking “still water” or keeping your air conditioning at minimum temperature.

Chinese online censorship on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be backing down, especially after a series of large, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages.

But the digital censorship has proven to be very lucrative for local technology companies like Tencent, the giant that owns WeChat, a 700 million users app that combines e-commerce and real-world services in ways that has the western companies in awe.

It’s no news that the Chinese market is home to a copycat cultural habit, but at the same time China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation if we were to quote New York Times. “While still lagging in some important areas, China managed to protrude Baidu instead of Google, Weibo for Twitter, WeChat for Facebook or Alibaba instead of Amazon. Letting users hail a taxi or order a pizza without switching to another app., the rich, resourceful Chinese digital world is proving itself to be worthy of causing a real great split between China and the rest of the world.” (China, Not Silicon Valley, Is Cutting Edge in Mobile Tech — watch the short video here by Jonah M. Kessel and Paul Mozur for The New York Times ).

The technological control in China is now being enforced by new laws against circumventing tools so expect no change for the better in what online freedom is concerned. At play we have a huge market that needs to be protected and an authoritarian regime not to be threaten by exterior influence. China’s local technology companies are flourishing protected behind the “internet gates that keep over 700 million users loyal to local brands.

On the other hand, Russia leads the digital censorship by oppressive laws, while both Russia and China occasionally resort to arrests and intimidation.

So given the not so bright perspective, it’s easy to recognise that 2018 was a pretty tough year from a digital privacy standpoint and it’s only the end of August.

In spite of the orwellian scenario, it’s not yet clear how the censorship ordeal will play out and there are still a lot of VPN services that still work in China and Russia.

There are many ways of circumventing the totalitarian Chinese surveillance system, such as proxy servers or VPNs.

Any company selling VPN services in China must comply with regulations, hence register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Plus they’re constantly targeted by the local authorities and are often slow and unstable.

As monitoring and surveillance is not confined to the Great Firewall, but built-in social networks, chat services and VoIP, the best solution falls in the court of companies outside China.

MyIP.io is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or DMCA compliance.

The platform was designed with the professional focus in mind and caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time. Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

Setting yourself up with a VPN connection, when in China or Russia is still the first thing to consider, whether you’re looking to stay away from the control apparatus or simply connect to Netflix streaming. The connection, in China however, goes at a global low speed pace, so you’ll need to have your expectations straight when entering the arena a VPN app. is able to unlock for you.

Your School Might Be Tracking Your Online Activity, Here’s How To Stop It From Doing So

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Remember how net neutrality made waves just last month? Well, going forward the online security issue seems to only deepen as news about data collection, monitoring and surveillance practice go far beyond just access.

Since it’s only weeks before the start of the new school year, we figured it’s only relevant we address a very interesting report, conducted in schools in England and Whales by privacy advocates Big Brother Watch. The said report found more than a thousand of them to be using surveillance software to monitor students in class and while on campuses.

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The very first paragraph of the report reads: “Unless you are a teacher or have a child in school, it is likely you are not familiar with a modern classroom. Your memories of school may be of chalk boards and scribbling down lessons in a workbook. Answering a question meant putting your hand up, whilst talking to a friend, or enemy, was done by scrawling on scraps of paper. Information came from books and encyclopedias not the internet, in fact the only time you may have used a computer was in a specific information technology lesson and even then there weren’t enough computers for every student to have a go. That vision of school is already out of date and will soon be obsolete. The analogue classroom of old has been replaced with smartboards, internet connected devices and communication via instant message. And rightly so. Learning in the 21st century must revolve around technology in order to teach children the skills required for a digital life in a digital society. The challenges of the modern classroom have changed. “

A pretty accurate description of how the internet changed the classroom environment wouldn’t you agree?

Whether this monitoring software (amounting an extra £2.5 million in school expenses as per the whole specimen included in the study) is used in aid of keeping students focused on educational goals or whether we are talking about a real privacy intrusion and possibly pecuniary driven data collection, is the real underlying matter in question here. Looking at the key findings of the report the results don’t offer much comfort in setting the bottom line privacy issue straight. Before raising concerns, let’s go through a few of these numbers as revealed in the study:

70% of responding secondary schools in England and Wales were found to use a Classroom Management Software package. Out of 1000 schools, only 149 (15%) provided Use Policies, of those 149 schools: 26 (17%) gave detailed information about the type of Classroom Management Software and how it was used, while 123 (83%) failed to give any information beyond the fact that students may be monitored when using computers

This is of course not just a case for UK, Australia also, has a few universities tracking students to the point of telling the exact room a certain student is in, at a certain time. There is no telling as to how these data catalogues influence the grade systems if at all, but the very fact that these institutions are storing this data could be revelatory of them analyzing patterns and behaviors for a so far undisclosed purpose.

Getting around this panopticon system your educational institution might have in place too, is actually a pretty simple task at hand. The most practical way to avoid being monitored by your school or university is simply to get a VPN service.

SET YOURSELF WITH A VPN CONNECTION AND ROCK ON:

No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.

Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, your school or university will not be able to block access or make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online data happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.

But it’s not just your school that might be keeping track of your browsing data, your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same.

Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they created by charging extra for privacy.

So, having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP (that can be your school, while on campus) can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.

Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , The platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated andBusiness, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.

Engineered as a global platform,MyIP.io is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.

The Net Neutrality Issue: Shortcut Trough The Noise

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In times like these, as the bill to save net neutrality is still 46 votes short in the US House it is only relevant we should have an open discussion on internet security, especially since the effort of re instating it has unclear odds of success. Rather than getting wrapped in all the media headlines and speculation, we say it’s time we cut a shortcut through all the debate and aim for a solution to overthrow the effects of net neutrality repeal. It all sounds very sophisticated, but net neutrality is actually a common thing that can affect your internet connection in a very “tangible” way. If your ISP is no longer legally binded to remain neutral, think of how they can affect your connection by throttling access to services they are not partnered with, while creating “fast lanes” for preferred partners. And we are not talking hypothetically. It has happened already and under the new rule of the law it can continue to happen undisturbed.

A SIMPLE, TROUBLE FREE SOLUTION:

The simplest way to go around this and regain control over the situation is to set yourself up with a VPN service. For example, under the new rules, you could be charged more for accessing Hulu instead of Netflix. With a VPN in place however, your ISP won’t even know what you are accessing, since all your data will appear encrypted.

But which VPN to pick, you may ask? Since your VPN provider can pretty much know all your ISP knows, it is important to chose a reliable one, ideally with a zero log policy. To spare you the trouble of reviewing different VPN services, we tested things like speed, encryption, locations and costs as main indicators of a good VPN service forMyIP.io VPN.

Here are the features that we you will most definitely find a value in when using our service:

1. High Speed: Fast uploads even for big transfers.

2. Open Ports: Not many VPNs will allow you to use PPTP and even fewer will help you use this feature by guiding you on how to do it. MyIP.io offers comprehensive support given by a very responsive customer support team.

3. Static IPs: Usually an extra feature, static IPs are marketed at extra fees. On a MyIP.io you’ll get a static IP on a $5 plan.

4. Cost

You’ll pay less than $6 if you go with an annual subscription and $8 for a monthly. The costs are even lower for a dynamic IP, which comes with the “personal plan” for less than $3 a month.

5. Master VPN Account for teams

If you decide to go with the “business plan” we will allocate a whole subnet to you or engineer a custom solution to meet your needs. In a nutshell, the business VPN solution allows multiple accounts into one master deck, a convenient scenario in term of having control, management and payment. Simultaneous connections up to 50, on this plan.

6. Strong Encryption and a Zero Logs Policy My IP.io comes bundled with all the strong encryption protocols, supporting all the latest security protocols such as SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, SSTP and 128bit –AES, OpenVPN cipher. They will not keep any logs of your activity on their server, so you can be sure no 3rd party is spying on your data.

7. Locations

You’ll have a diverse location offering to chose from with My IP.io that you can use to bypass geo-restrictions.

In the end, whatever you chose, be aware that a VPN provider is the middleman between you and the world wide web, so make sure you get a reliable one that ticks all your boxes. For us, that’s MyIP.io.
KEY IDEAS THAT YOU CAN KEEP AND CALL YOUR OWN:

With all the crazy headlines surrounding the online security, net neutrality ordeals, you kind of get the feeling that it’s been a pretty intense year. But wait 2018 it’s only half way through and signs of weird outcomes are seen almost everywhere, counting the World Cup results as one.

Whether it’s the Facebook scandal, self-driving cars or politics, there’s no denying that technology is taking over and chances are you are affected by all or at least some of these narratives.

Out of the bunch, net neutrality is the one we are focusing on here and how you can circumvent it.

Summing up, the common sense solution to go around net neutrality repeal is to set yourself up with a VPN service. If you take nothing but the main idea from this written material, this is it:

  1. First, make sure your VPN provider has a zero logs policy. Most of VPN providers will claim they don’t keep logs, but will in fact document logging data that they can trace back to you. Going with a service that can not keep this information by design, like MyIP.io, is an exciting option.
  2. And second, beware of throttling of traffic. Your ISP might try and throttle VPN traffic, however it is difficult for your ISP to do so since it can affect all traffic, including the one that goes to their partners and customers.

All in all, net neutrality could be at some point in the future revoked, but even if it is, naturally there will be a great deal of back and forth in this kind of matter. Attempts for another repeal might and will be pushed forward, if the case. ISPs have a lot at stake to simply give in that easy. While fighting a good cause is important, we think that focusing on circumventing the effects of net neutrality repeal is equally important. Especially since, going around it, requires just a simple education and making sure that we’re a bit more savvy then yesterday, when it comes to our individual rights and preserving them in an increasingly digitalized world.