Interest in VPNs has shot up dramatically in the USA in the wake of the decision by US Congress to repeal the FCCs privacy laws.
As we reported earlier in the week, Congress this week followed up on the Senate’s vote last week and agreed to allow ISPs to sell customer browsing history and geo-location data without having to first seek their permission. The Senate had voted in favour by a margin of 50-48, and this was followed by Congress also supporting the idea by 215 votes to 205.
As we said at the time, this vote means that the concept of online privacy in the US is now effectively dead and that without a VPN you would have to accept the fact that your online data is going to be available to the highest bidder.
Google search spikes
At the time we noted that media references to VPNs were suddenly more popular, but now the data from Google is in and it clearly shows that US citizens are not taking this lying down.
Almost immediately after the result of the vote can in, Google searches for VPNs began to rise and there has been on average a 43% more interest in searches for either VPN or ‘Virtual Private Network’ in the days since.
There have also been huge spikes in related topic searches as well, with the term Internet Privacy seeing an increase of more than 3,400%.
Sharp increase in VPN interest
This trend has also been reflected in the number of visits VPN providers themselves are seeing, with many reporting sharp increases in traffic and enquiries.
IPVanish has reported that “Traffic and sales were up 50% week over week after the announcement. We’re noticing a sharp increase in demand in all countries where the government doesn’t respect basic privacy rights and Internet freedoms.”
Meanwhile, Marty P. Kamden, the CMO of NordVPN said “NordVPN has noticed a sharp increase in inquiries from American Internet users worried about their privacy: the inquiries surged by 86% in the past few days. Such spikes in user interest in VPNs are not unusual – whenever a government announces an increase in surveillance, people turn to privacy tools.”
And Uzair Gadit, a Co-Founder of PureVPN said “An alarming number of users have joined PureVPN’s Live Chat asking how a VPN might help protect their online privacy. It only goes to show that people are waking up to their fundamental rights to privacy and freedom.”
What does this mean?
The spike in interest in VPNs tells us a great deal about the reaction of the US people to the votes in Congress and the Senate.
They are clearly far from happy with the decision to repeal online privacy. We reported earlier in the year about how many US citizens were concerned about how a Trump Presidency would impact on their online privacy. It seems that all their worst fears have come to pass.
But it also shows that if their elected officials are unwilling to protect their online privacy, people are not afraid to go out and find a way to do so themselves.
How a VPN ensures online privacy
The best way to protect your online data is for it to be encrypted. As we have seen with the FBI’s efforts to crack encrypted communications, find a way through encryption is not easy. And a VPN will encrypt all of your online traffic, ensuring that not only hackers and FBI agents cannot see your online activity, but neither can your ISP.
When you use a VPN, all your ISP will see is the IP Address of the VPN you are connected to. This data is almost worthless to them and so by using a VPN you are both protecting your own online privacy and preventing ISPs from profiting from you.
As this is the main reason Congress has voted the way it has, this should be seen by many as a small moral victory as well as a sure-fire way to keep your online activity private.