So I’m pretty recent to the high seas but I’ve seen a few posts now about “stop relying on your VPN” and “people that think VPNs will protect them are naive” and so on.

So since I believe knowledge is our greatest weapon/tool/super-power, can we get some answers regarding what exactly the doomsayers are getting at? ELI5 why VPNs wouldn’t protect your anonymity.

Is it about logging? The country your end-point is in? Something more technical?

Ultimately I’d like to be fully armed in order to keep making the best choices for my fledgling ship as it navigates the vast, stormy seas.

  • Ilandar
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    1 year ago

    The people saying that are either idiots or private tracker snobs. VPNs are absolutely an important part of shielding yourself from any potential legal action, particularly if you are torrenting.

    It’s true that a VPN doesn’t make you or your activity completely anonymous - you are trusting the logging policy of your provider - and won’t necessarily protect you against a court order, for example. However the only realistic danger to a small scale pirate such as yourself is the copyright troll who traces torrent IP addresses back to your ISP, thereby identifying you. If you mask your IP address with a VPN, you prevent them from doing this efficiently and effectively protect yourself from the threat of legal action.

    • Banzai51@midwest.social
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      1 year ago

      And encrypting your traffic so your ISP can’t definitively see what you’re doing. They can guess, but they can’t definitively tell. That encrypted traffic is a shield for your ISP. When an IP holder demands something, the ISP can say it is encrypted and they can’t read it. It forces the bulk of the work back onto the IP holder. If your VPN is doing what it claims to do, then the work of that IP holder gets extremely difficult to downright impossible.

      • Pulp@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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        1 year ago

        The copyright troll would be sending the emails to the VPN provider’s host. They won’t even know who your ISP is.

      • themoonisacheese@sh.itjust.works
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        1 year ago

        Every site on earth has been using https for multiple years. The only thing that is visible to your ISP has been the server’s address for a while. VPNs just got encrypt that as well, but that’s about it.

        • AvgApartheidLover@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          1 year ago

          And yet, if you use a cheapo VPN with a well-known address (shared IP) sites like Amazon, or even Wikia will block you. Why? If most of your information is ‘private’ anyways, why go through the step of preventing a potential customer/user just because of their IP?

          Because in reality, even such a minor thing as a dinky $3/month VPN is a huge headache for people trying to farm relevant information from you. Public Cookies, Basic Telemetry, and really any sort of ad-relevant data is pretty much publically available to any interested party, and even the simplest VPNs screw that up to a large degree.

          People don’t go out of their way to spend a couple of bucks on a VPN and reserved IP because they think they’re gonna defeat the CIA or become a Net Ghost, they do it to get around region locks, IP bans, localized pricing (and yes to pirate their favorite movies/video games).

          • themoonisacheese@sh.itjust.works
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            1 year ago

            This isn’t why. They refuse service because a large part of DDoS, scam and generally unlawful trafic comes from VPNs (because the criminals are the ones interested in masking their true IP, for police evasion). If your site has a payment form, it is financial suicide to not block common VPN IPs because carders will use it to test their ill-acquired cards. If your site has a way to make a request that cost a lots of resources, you want to block VPN IPs because otherwise your site gets DoSed to hell and back by anyone who has a problem with you. The collateral damage of blocking people who deny you one data point to track them is completely acceptable to these businesses.