The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill presented by the UK Home Secretary last November 4 is causing some sensation as it promises a new legislation that will force UK ISPs to keep an Internet Connection Record (ICR) for the previous 12 months for all its customers. But the most surprising is that in the whole draft of legislative measures, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) weren’t even mentioned anywhere in the document, despite their capacity to make the retention of ICRs questionable.
The said bill, which was brought by Secretary Theresa May to the parliament, intends to go before the house for approval in 2016 once it’s clarified and refined. But why is it that VPNs aren’t even indicated since it’s one crucial thing when it comes to discussions involving IP addresses?
Anyone constantly using a VPN, especially a secure VPN connection, through any of their fixed computer or mobile device, will have a very dull ICR, since it will just show the customer hopping on one time to their ISP and making one final hop into the obscurity of VPN tunneling. Every transaction or activity made while connecting to a secure and encrypted VPN, from Netflix and Hulu streaming to social media updating on Facebook and Twitter, will simply be shown as an encrypted traffic.
From Vladimir Putin of Russia, to China’s Great Firewall, VPN has been an interesting and controversial topic. The fact that both Russia and China have made the connection between the power of anonymous web surfing, made by the fact that VPN service providers, depending on their location, can make a user’s internet activity into nothing more meaningful to investigating authorities than a series of encrypted data full of zeroes and ones.
Reasons why you’d be thinking how strange it is that the DIPB hasn’t even given a word on the matter, amidst all its established controversial proclamations. To quote, “Does the UK government actually know what a VPN is?”
Perhaps the topic and discussion about VPN for security and being able to surf anonymously still has a long way to go. And maybe it has yet to raise its head into the British political and security scene, because still, only few people understand what a VPN security really is. Also, advises for readers about the potential use of VPNs to eliminate the privacy implications of DIPB make them only semi-informed about the matter.