VPN - another tool to use against "Big Tech" (Part Two)

By BAT_Brigade_Griff | Privacy Matters | 11 May 2022


If you haven't read it yet, check out Part One of this series here.

"Why should I care if I don't have anything to hide?"

The answer is simple : your provider can impair, block or even charge you more for what you do with your bandwidth - even if it's completely normal.

Before you respond with "Griff. Come on now, I pay a monthly fee for that. Saying they'd just mess with it for profit is going into conspiracy theory territory." Let me give you an example.

Without going too deep into Net Neutrality, I'll describe it as 'When you pay of 75Mbps of bandwidth for your home, you get that 75Mbps without it being messed with.' Internet providers very much want to mess with it so they don't need to upgrade their infrastructure to handle heavy loads. This is akin to the owner of a highway invisibly making sure you can't accelerate past 45 MPH even though the speed limit is 65 MPH.

Here's an example where Verizon was throttling Netflix traffic. First, they went to Netflix directly and demanded more money because people were streaming so much of their content. Netflix agreed for an undisclosed amount (but it's a safe bet to guess it's measured in the Millions) Next, Verizon continued to throttle the performance of Netflix streamers - and where we get to the point. 

Yes, connecting through a VPN is going to ad some overhead and 'slow' your connection down a bit. But, as the throttling article says, "One Verizon customer paying for 75Mbps FiOS became frustrated and switched to a VPN provider to test whether or not the problem was on Verizon’s end. The result? A colossal surge in overall performance delivered courtesy of adding further network overhead.

As the author notes, his initial performance using FiOS to stream Netflix without the VPN was 375Kbps. When he switched to a VPN, his performance jumped from 375Kbps to 3000Kbps — the maximum Netflix allows."

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With a VPN, whether it's Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or Disney - Verizon can't see that and slow you down. My prediction is all ISPs eventually are going to start charging everyone for 'premium connections' and enforce a higher cost for customers who stream a lot. Why not? Historically, they've only cared about one thing : profit. If they didn't see profit in it, why would they spend $235 Million lobbying for the laws in 2020 alone to allow them to do it?

Brave has a monthly/yearly VPN plan for it's browser on iOS, has Android in Beta now and Desktop is on the roadmap - showing their dedication to end-user privacy. If you see a VPN that's free - run away. It's a service that will cost something, but it should be part of the standard utilities you pony up for every month.

As always, if you want to chat with me directly about any of my posts, I lurk in the BAT Brigade Discord.

Be safe out there.

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BAT_Brigade_Griff
BAT_Brigade_Griff

Old-school geek making his way into web3 - one coin at a time.


Privacy Matters
Privacy Matters

An old-school geek's thoughts on cyber-security, privacy, and the future of the web - especially this new fangled thing called 'web3'. The Net is part of billions of lives and the evolution of 'Big Tech' is forcing individual users to have to learn how to protect themselves and their information. Your 'identity' is more than just data.

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