Can My VPN Surfing Be Traced

The idea behind the proliferated use of virtual private networks (VPNs) in the way that many businesses are now selling them as services is anonymity. Users sign up for these sites and try to milk their services for everything they’re worth because what they really want is privacy. What people want is to be able to do what they want online without being identified as the one doing these things. They want to mask their browser history and minute-to-minute browser activity. They want to be able to elude onlookers. Ultimately, though, true anonymity on the Internet is not feasible even with a VPN.

The Problem with True Anonymity

The idea of true anonymity on the Internet is such a fleeting concept. The reason for this is that, when you visit a site, they log your IP address because every online entity with which you interact needs a way to differentiate users. Now, true enough, VPNs genuinely can obfuscate your IP address so that you are not detectable by these means; however, the way they operate presents an entirely new, albeit smaller problem. The user has to be distinguished one way or another, and yes, VPNs substitute your IP address for a false one when interfacing between you and the server of the site you visit during the authentication verification process.

The issue is that, in order for you to use the VPN, you still have to ultimately give them your IP address. Even if the VPN were to obscure your address even to themselves in some way, they have a means by which to discern which user you are regardless. In other words, when you supply the VPN with your IP address, you end up compromising your own endeavors for anonymity in the first place. Evidence comes from the fact that, as you well know, any VPN you use intends to bill you for the use of their service. In order to do this efficiently, they have to have a way of keeping track of which user has and has not paid for service. What all this really means is that true anonymity is not actually attainable on the Internet.

Privacy Is a More Realistic Goal

Anonymity is a very absolute concept. It is the state of being unnamed or devoid of perceptible identity. Privacy, on the other hand, is not a state of being, and it is not absolute. Privacy is something you can possess. You can have privacy in the sense that you can limit the number of people who know who you are, know where you are, or know what you’re doing. This kind of limitation is legitimate, and it is a much more attainable goal than anonymity as a result.

Though a VPN does not truly provide you with the anonymity that businesses commonly promise you, they do deliver on their promise for privacy to a certain extent. There’s no absolution to it, of course, because they still know who’s who, but you genuinely do benefit from their service if your goal is to keep sites from seeing who you really are or what you’re really doing. You’re essentially untraceable as far as many of the sites you tend to visit during your browsing are concerned, which means that VPNs still have significant value to a great many users.

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