VPNs, proxies and privacy

  • Vivaldi Team

    In our series on privacy and security, we delve into true VPNs, secure and anonymizing web proxies, browser VPNs, and explain what to look for in a VPN service.

    Click here to see the full blog post

  • This is one of the very few times that I have read an article that clearly says that the usual things called "VPN" in fact aren't. Can't say that loud enough.

    (and first ๐Ÿ˜ƒ )

  • Nice article thanks.

    The useless Oz fascist misgovernment instituted mandatory data collection+retention for ISPs some years ago, at which point i said "Bastards, ok, time for me to get a good VPN" [& which is permanently running]. Of course, it rather helps for global Netflixing as well, teehee.

  • Moderator

    @quhno: Upvoted just because of the "first"

  • @an_dz: Upvoted just because of the upvote ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • 6th
    I use private windows for looking thinks up, that can reduce some web tracking, they can also be used to test if a site issue might be a cache or ๐Ÿช issue.

  • @chas4 said in VPNs, proxies and privacy:

    private windows for looking thinks up, that can reduce some web tracking

    WHY do you say this? It's simply fallacious. "PW" is IMO a horrific misnomer that is terribly misleading. Browsing in a PW might stop your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/dogfriend/et al see what you've been up to online, but in no way blinds your ISP/intermediate servers/ASIO/GCHQ/NSA/et al to your nefarious or innocent activities. IMO PW, so long as it keeps being called PW, is dangerous. Conversely this might be digital Darwinianism at work...

  • Moderator

    @steffie I get what @Chas4 is saying. You keep out of cookies and cached resources. It helps reduce the tracking, which is what @Chas4 said, not that it's anonymous.

  • @an_dz Who am i to stand in the way of anyone & their misconceptions? If someone wants to use the misnamed PWs & kid themselves that they are, y'know, private, then go right ahead.

    digital Darwinianism at work...

  • @steffie There is a difference between private and incognito.

    If you are in a meeting and then go to another room without other people in, you are in private, but not incognito. Everybody still knows that it was you who went to that room (your data collecting ISP will for sure, as will everybody who can correlate IP addresses). People outside of the building will not know that you have entered the room.

    If you enter the meeting wearing a mask, you are incognito, not private, because everybody still sees that someone entered the room (our ISP will even know who you are). If you talk to another person in that meeting, everybody will still be able to listen what you are talking about. Everybody can do some educated guess who you are by e.g. the way you walk, your body height, get information about if you are male or female, etc unless you wear a full body Pikachu costume - which of course makes you still stick out like a sore thumb. People outside of the building will not know who that Pikachu is too, provided you did not put on that costume in public.

    The only way to do what you want is by wearing a mask and going to that other room without passing the meeting room. Oh - and make sure nobody saw you when you put on that mask and nobody can trace where you came from before you have put on that mask. You will stick out like a sore thumb to all who saw you entering the building but people in the meeting will not know that some Pikachu entered the private room (e.g. your ISP will see that you have connected to a real VPN, but that's it) .

    Not the best analogy (but still beats cars ๐Ÿ˜ƒ )and by no means complete, I know. It is still early morning here and I had only 2 cups of coffee, so feel free to add better scenarios involving more Pokรฉmon.

    I had some discussion about the "Private/Incognito Window" term when those "private" Windows were first introduced and suggested "forgetful window" - so that term is taken, you need to invent a new one ๐Ÿ˜›

    So what is your suggestion for a better name?
    (Honest question because I don't know a fitting one, all feel awkward)

  • @quhno How about ignorant window?

  • Ambassador

    @quhno said in VPNs, proxies and privacy:

    So what is your suggestion for a better name?


  • @quhno I know nothing about Pokรฉmon, but have no problem concurring with the majority of your metaphorical riposte. I do not deny for a moment that online privacy+anonymity+safety+security, is tricky, damn tricky, & these days might well be all but impossible. It's specifically that i do agree with you that always makes me bristle each time i hear or read someone mentioning that they use Private Windows / Incognito Mode / Thing Wot Evades Our Best Naming Endeavours & opines that in any meaningful way it is protecting them. Lots of people lean more heavily on a fuzzy rather than acute nomenclature interpretation [i'm not justifying such intellectual laziness, just mentioning it], hence IMO using any imprecise term for a part of the privacy+anonymity+safety+security morass is likely to make such users falsely assume that when using this mode they're now The Invisible Man/Woman/GenderTBAEntity.

    Naming Possibilities? Oh i dunno:

    1. Transient Mode
    2. Ephemeral Mode
    3. Cookieless Mode
    4. Spouse/Partner/Significant-Other Mode
    5. Not Really Safe But Ask Yourself Just One Question Punk Do You Feel Lucky Mode

    Why not hold an official poll on a putative better name?

  • @pesala:

    • "disconnected" because you are logged out of everything (unless you log in in the private window)?
    • "isolated" because it has (almost) nothing to do with other windows?

    (I am no native English speaker, so I don't know if those have the right ring to them)

  • @steffie said:

    Spouse/Partner/Significant-Other Mode

    I'd like that, especially if you'd add some /too-young-to-see-which-pr0n-sites-I-visited to it ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    ... but the "private" mode indeed protects from some of the simpler tracking methods because cookies and some other local data are not shared with normal windows, i.e. you are logged off from F and G in that kind of window - but it is not cookieless - cookies can be set in that window during the "private" session.

  • @quhno Whilst this would be incomprehensible to anyone not a fan of Monty Python, another possible name is

    Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more Mode

  • @steffie "You know nothing" (Fawlty Towers) would be nice too ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • @quhno Or, from a couple of decades earlier, the Sargeant Schultz line;

    I know narthink, naaaaaaarthink.


  • @steffie said in VPNs, proxies and privacy:

    Why not hold an official poll on a putative better name?

    Why not call it "Forgetful Mode", as (only) your PC remembers nothing about the session when it's finished.

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