Our privacy is once again being trampled on.

The US Senate recently passed a bill to extend elements of the Patriot Act. Notably, this legislation included parts that would increase the FBI and CIA’s ability to legally access your browser search history without a warrant.

The age-old argument that’s often trotted out when government power is expanded to trespass on individual privacy is this: “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to fear.” That is not necessary true. How many people have been stopped by the police for a traffic violation and have been asked if they can search your car without any cause or justification? The same can be said about your browsing or internet usage.

Well, I use a VPN, so I am safe… That is what you think. Many VPN providers say they don’t keep logs, but that is not a true statement, either.

Your ISP can see all the sites you visit and it keeps a log of your traffic for just this purpose. However, using a VPN prevents this. Although browsing with a VPN prevents your ISP from tracking your movements, your ISP may not be the FBI’s only stop on their investigation. They may also track down and request logs from your VPN provider.

In addition to using a VPN, the connection is only secure from your computer to the VPN termination point. In many cases this is the VPN provider and not the website you are accessing. So, you think you are protected, but in reality, everything you are doing can be seen by anyone.

If you’re using a VPN, it’s important to do go with one that you trust. In the end, just using a VPN only shifts your vulnerability from your ISP to your provider. So make sure that you trust the VPN provider that you are instilling your privacy.

That said, don’t be stupid. If you go on the internet to break the law, you’re taking risks no matter how well you try to protect yourself. Don’t lean on a VPN to try to get away with things you know you shouldn’t be doing anyway.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/05/limits-on-fbi-access-to-search-histories-fails-by-one-senate-vote/

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