The Washington Post says there’s “no real reason” to use a VPN

Some people try to hide parts of their email addresses from online scrapers by spelling “at” and “dot,” notes a Washington Post technology newsletter. But unfortunately: “This trick to fight spam doesn’t work. Not at all.” They warn that it is not just another “piece of anti-spam fiction” but “an example of the digital self-protection myths that eat up your time and energy and make you less safe.

Today, let’s dispel four false privacy and security beliefs, one of which is that you need a VPN to stay safe online. (No, probably not.)
Myth No. 3: You need a VPN to stay safe online.

…for most people in the United States and other democracies, “There’s no real reason why you should use a VPN,” said Frédéric Rivain, chief technology officer of Dashlane, a password management service that also offers a VPN… If you’re researching sensitive topics like depression and don’t want family members to know or companies tracking your activity, Rivain said you might be better off using a privacy-focused web browser like Brave or the DuckDuckGo search engine. If you use a VPN, that company has data on what you do. And advertisers will still figure out how to pitch ads based on your online activity.

PS If you’re worried about crooks stealing your data when you use Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops or airports and want to use a VPN to disguise what you’re doing, you probably don’t need to. Using public Wi-Fi is now safe in most cases, reports my colleague Tatum Hunter.
“Many VPNs are also unreliable and can do far more harm than good,” continues their debunking of myths, directing readers to an earlier Washington Post analysis (with some safe recommendations).

On a more sympathetic note, they acknowledge that “being a human on the internet is exhausting. Businesses and government officials could do a lot more to protect you.”

But as it stands, “the internet is a non-stop scam machine and a little paranoia is healthy.”






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