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User privacy suffers major blow after US Senate gives FBI unrestricted access to browsing data

Last updated on 18/05/2020 by Melvyn and co.
The US is renowned for being one of the worst offenders globally when it comes to intruding on the general public’s online a browsing habits. With high surveillance techniques and their demands for all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US to intrusively store all web data from a user, there’s really no hiding. Furthermore, following the aftermath of 9/11, the US government passed The Patriot Act’s with the original intention to counter terrorist threats, but more recently controversially expanded into significant data collection. Not only can government agencies now freely access your online movements, this can also be shared internationally with other nations. A serious concern…

No warrant needed for the FBI to access your online data

Law enforcement monitoring by the CIA, NSA and FBI is already widespread and seen as a significant threat by privacy activists. An amendment that would require the FBI to have a warrant to access any user’s online history and communications failed to pass by just one vote on May 13th this year. The bi-partisan attempt to block this intrusion was backed by Senator Ron Wyden & Steve Daines, however they failed to get enough support. The voting process itself has drawn criticism with the likes of Bernie Sanders and 3 other senators who failed to vote at all.

“Is it right at this unique time when millions of law-abiding citizens are at home, for the government to be able to spy on their internet searches and web browsing without a warrant?” Wyden asked the Senate ahead of the vote.

“Should law-abiding Americans have to worry about their government looking over their shoulders from the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on their computers to when they go to bed at night? I believe the answer is no. But that’s exactly what the government has the power to do without our amendment.”

Delving into the detail of the law, Section 215 permits that no probable cause is needed or suspicion of criminal involvement, instead all online communications of millions of innocent Americans is now at the mercy of this vague and far reaching law which is seen by many as unconstitutional.

Protecting online freedom in the USA

Clearly for anybody who is concerned about their online privacy, this news is highly significant. Our team of cyber-security and privacy experts have the following advice for US internet users.

A VPN is the easiest and most effective method of encrypting both your online movements and data communications and prevents your ISP and ultimately government agencies from monitoring and collecting your individual data. However, not all VPNs are created equal and we recommended you only go for providers that over the following security features:

By choosing a VPN provider that offers the above, users in the US (and around the world) can browse in total freedom knowing their online activities are securely tunnelled away from prying eyes onto a secure server.

Not all VPN companies offer a zero logs policy so it’s important you purchase one that categorically doesn’t store data. Without this, in a worst-case scenario for you, the FBI could issue your VPN provider with a subpoena and force them to hand over the same data your ISP would store if you didn’t use a VPN. However, if this data isn’t stored in the first place… there is nothing for the VPN company to hand over!

For a more in-depth look at our top 5 recommended VPN providers for the USA, why not head on over to our review page here.

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