Browsing Habits via VPN

This question was posed by a customer (an Attorney):

**** wanted me to ask you about whether you think a Virtual Private Network would be beneficial for the firm given that the government has now said it’s okay to sell peoples browsing information.  He said sometimes they browse for clients and we can’t have that information floating around like that and is concerned.   He wanted to know your thoughts and cost of getting it done if you think it would help.
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Charles BaldoSoftware DeveloperCommented:
The government has said it is okay for ISPs like Verizon and ATT to start selling browsing info.  Companies like google, facebook, twitter already can do it.  So they have been doing it.  A Secure encrypted VPN will help stop your average hack packet sniffers, but all traffic is mapped.

Look at using a tor browser if you want anonymity

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Tyler BrooksNetwork and Security ConsultantCommented:
I would second what Charles said, TOR has it's issues but when it comes to keeping your browsing habits private it is a much better solution than utilizing a VPN.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
TOR has it's issues but when it comes to keeping your browsing habits private it is a much better solution than utilizing a VPN.

I must respectfully disagree.  Many Tor exit nodes are run by governmental agencies, and not necessarily by US agencies.  Hit the wrong exit node and your data belongs to The Feds.  Hit a worse exit node and your data belongs to the Chinese or the Russians.  Tor should not be trusted with anything other than casual browsing.

Anything going into or coming out of a Tor exit node is not encrypted.  You might as well be browsing from home; the chances of someone eavesdropping are probably less.

Aside from this, many Tor exit nodes are outside the US, and some web sites will not accept connections coming from outside the US.

Now as regards VPNs ... a VPN provider is just another ISP, and now the VPN providers can collect the same information that your local ISP can collect.  If the VPN is not encrypted with encryptors that you own, all a VPN does is push the problem back a little further away.
Charles BaldoSoftware DeveloperCommented:
Dr Klahn

So true,  I never completely trust TOR.  There are many instances when people thought they were private, anonymous and encrypted and learned they were not.

Probably best solution is to have your own encryption schemes over a VPN and NEVER, I repeat NEVER do anything illegal :)  Stolen legal data will not hold up in a court challenge as evidence.  But let's do our best to minimize the need for lawyers.

Bottom line is there is no 100% anonymous truly encrypted  secure connection.  Just when you think so you end up with the human element where a low level Bradley Manning type makes a terrible choice with some old fashioned CD and hard drives.
Charles BaldoSoftware DeveloperCommented:
One more Comment to LockDown32, Cost.

Look for a consultant who may have worked at Facebook or google.  There are plenty around, check your local user groups.  Python user groups will have such people that understand the task.  You can find them on . An hourly consultant will cost you between $60 and $125 an hour, I personally do not take on tasks under a month and travel extra. I am sure there are better than me though in your area if you live anywhere in a somewhat populated place.  PS do a legal background check on anyone you hire.
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