Pour another one out for online privacy. Then do a half-assed job of mopping it back up with a virtual private network.
In what is only the latest assault on the right not to be creeped on, both the House and the Senate voted to permit internet service providers to sell customers' browsing history to the highest bidder — all without the customers' knowledge. In response to this, virtual private network (VPNs) have become the talk of the digital town.
VPNs work by encrypting your traffic and running it through a third party server. To make this happen, users download software provided by the VPN company or an open-source alternative. When it's up and running, anyone snooping on your web browsing would theoretically just see an encrypted connection to your VPN provider — not mashable.com, not plannedparenthood.org, and definitely not Pornhub.
So what's changed now? For one, people are finally aware of the practice. And as more and more of our lives move online, the stakes become correspondingly higher.
What's more, once signed by Trump, a terrible practice will be codified into law. "S.J. Res. 34 strips away some of the last remaining privacy and cybersecurity protections Internet users had left to protect them from exploitation," the non-partisan Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology explained in response to the vote. "Once again, consumer privacy and cybersecurity protections were unquestioningly sacrificed in favor of profit margins, to the detriment of our National Security."