The interest in the VPN market continues to grow, and the increased popularity of these tools has had an effect on businesses the world over. Many small VPN companies have turned into great successful businesses and their unique models continue to inspire others to do something similar and take as many advantages as possible from the industry. Verizon, one of the big ISPs in the United States, has decided to participate in this, too, launching its own VPN called Safe Wi-Fi. The company aims particularly at its existing clients but allows anyone to subscribe to it as well for only $3.99 per month, with the first month on the house.
However, Verizon is also one of the most notorious ISPs for profiting out of collected user data, which casts some suspicion over its VPN.
In looking at the official page of Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi, the service seems just like any other VPN. It’s advertised as a great means to remain protected while using public internet since it hides users’ IP addresses, can be used on up to 10 iOS and Android devices – which is actually quite impressive – and even features an additional ad blocking tool. Curiously enough, it’s precisely this where the problem behind this VPN comes from.
In contradiction to this ad blocker, Verizon actively serves its customers with targeted ads, which we all know are displayed according to each user’s personal online footprints. Like many others, this ISP collects information on which sites you visit, the Google searches you make, how much time you spend on Facebook, and a whole lot more. Based on these details, it then sells such data to ad serving platforms and the targeted adverts quickly start filling your web browser and ruining an otherwise peaceful online experience. In the case of Verizon, this VPN may prevent people from seeing such ads but it won’t stop the massive gathering of data.
Hiding From Intrusive ISPs
Hiding from ISPs is one of the main purposes of purchasing a VPN to begin with, so in this particular case an important question arises: if Verizon can’t be trusted as an ISP, why should its VPN? Remember that being ‘invisible’ to ISPs means no restrictions on content, no blocked websites, or infuriating throttling when streaming or downloading but, above all, no data collection. Therefore it makes no sense to use a product made by the very same company that you’re trying to stay protected from.
Instead, ‘normal’ VPNs will fully protect users from all of the above. It’s true that you’l l be entrusting your online details to another company, but the most trustworthy providers follow no-log policies anyway. This means that not even the VPN companies can know what their users do online as there is no way to attribute specific behaviors to specific users. Some care is advised when choosing one of these VPNs, though, as some of them may not be as transparent as they seem. Still, even these are a much better choice than a VPN developed by an ISP.
VPNs by ISPs
So if these services can’t be trusted, why do ISPs like Verizon and others decide to offer such solutions? The answer is simple: to be a part of a growing business in which they’ll always come out on top in the end, one way or another. Also, despite the fact that VPNs have become much more popular nowadays, many people still don’t know what a VPN is, so when an ISP advertises a privacy enhancing service such as this it’s likely that an uninformed user would subscribe to it, naively believing the security benefits that are advertised.
In addition, other sales techniques are brought into play, too, like clever pricing, good device support and a free trial on the first month. Compared to this, a normal VPN would unfairly look expensive and unnecessary, even though they’re the ones actually providing safe Wi-Fi .
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