What is Internet Surveillance and How to Prevent it?

Updated on: 20 February 2019
Updated on:20 February 2019

In today’s world, almost every person will be online at one point or another during the course of a day. We carry out so many more transactions than ever before, we share information, we do our banking, we watch content and listen to music, we talk with our friends and family, we work, and game; we do a lot online.

However, Internet Surveillance is more prevalent than ever before. That old saying ‘time is money’, really should be updated to ‘data is money’. Yes, the information age is booming and is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon.

With censorship, geo-blocking, tracking, retargeting, and a culture of acceptance for monitoring actions and information’s, it’s no wonder that people can tend to feel a little suffocated when they are online. If you were under surveillance in real life, you would detect someone following you around. On the internet, you aren’t always aware of such actions.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Prying Eyes Online?

There are many ways you can prevent people from tracking your actions online.

Virtual Private Networks

The easiest and safest way to protect yourself is to get a VPN. Virtual Private Networks are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. While there are many great VPNs, there are also many others which do not help to protect you or your private information. Knowing the difference between the two is key.

Incognito Mode

It is a common myth that browsing incognito will keep all your actions hidden from the outside world. This is not true. All incognito mode actually does is to prevent the browser you are using from tracking your actions. It will not prevent Internet Surveillance.

What Is Internet Surveillance?

Essentially, it is when the computer activities, information that is being transmitted online, and data that is stored on the hard drive of a device is being monitored, recorded or stored.

This means that your internet traffic and information could be being accessed by third-parties, in most cases, without you have any knowledge of this whatsoever.

There are many reasons why organizations and individuals want to access this information. Even if a company has no intention of using the information they collect and store about you, if a government agency requests them to do so, in many cases, depending on where that business is located, they are wholly obliged to do this, even if they do not want to!

With regards to the government specifically, they might use information to enforce laws, spy on their citizens, prevent terrorism, combat illegal activities, collect information, and more.

There are many different individuals, organizations, and agencies that will attempt to track you and your precious personal information when you are online. Here are the commonly known organizations and individuals who try to track you when you are on the internet.

  • Governments
  • Copyright Owners
  • Advertisers
  • Hackers
  • Search Engines
  • Marketing Agencies
  • Website Owners
  • Corporations
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Cyber Criminals

Avoiding Internet Surveillance With a VPN

Who it might be that is tracking you, you can get a VPN and make it virtually impossible for anyone to detect your online activities.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is up to no good when they decide to cover their tracks. There are more reasons than ever before for individuals and companies to better protect their personal and confidential data.
Hackers and Cybercriminals are using increasingly more intelligent methods in order to track, infiltrate, and intercept your data.

It doesn’t matter if you are a personal user or a company, your data belongs to you and it should be protected from getting in the hands of these crooks at all costs.

VPNs Are Easy to Use

A VPN is a highly secure way to get online and use the internet. Whether you’ve used one before or not, VPNs are incredibly easy to use, and they take no time whatsoever to set up. You simply connect your VPN in a matter of clicks and use the internet as normal.

In the background, your request to access the internet is simply being routed by another, highly-secure server. However, this is nothing that you need to be concerned with as it all occurs in the background, giving you a secure way to use the internet.

VPNs Are Ultra-Secure

If you use a VPN to connect to the internet, you can rest assured that your activities will not be detected or able to be tracked. Your IP address will not be revealed to the outside world and for this reason, you will not be able to be detected when you browse. Another very important feature that enables this high-secure connection to work effectively is encryption.

You will only get true-encryption when you pay for a reputable VPN. However, this key feature means that your data is sent through a tunnel, and this tunnel makes it almost impossible to detect the information or content that is being sent online.

Your ISP will be able to see the data use, but they will not be able to see what is being sent.

VPNs Cost Less Than You Think

If we consider only the top VPNs, you might be surprised to learn that most of the highest-rated VPNs work out to cost between $3-$5 per month. You can choose to pay annually, quarterly or monthly.

TIP: If you want to pay for a VPN service and security is a concern, use a digital currency such as Bitcoin in order to make your purchase.

VPNs Allow You to View Blocked Content

If there is a specific piece of content you are trying to view, whether that be on Netflix, ESPN, YouTube, iPlayer, or anything else that imposes location-based content rulings, a VPN can help you bypass these blocks. If you are located in a country that exercises censorship, then accessing certain media, social, messaging, and content streaming apps can also prove to be an issue. Not with a VPN.

Internet Surveillance is an uncomfortable business for all involved. However, you deserve to have the freedom to do what you want online without having to worry about being watched or having your every move recorded somewhere. A VPN negates that risk and means you will be able to go online without having to worry about your personal information being put into the public realm.

Written by: Elizabeth March

Advanced ITSEC Specialist Based in Cambridge, England, Elizabeth has held notable positions for a range of high-profile vendors and clients in the European IT Security and Communications Sector. As a former IT Trainer, Technical Specialist, and Product Manager; she transitioned into the role of an expert IT Copywriter in 2015. Since then, her works have been published globally, and she continues to help people easily decipher complex technical challenges and make informed decisions about their digital lives.

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