The false security of ‘incognito’


For many states like the United States and Canada your information is closely held. A small accidental click into a website that could be a potential threat for the country could put not only the user but also the users’ family and friends into deep jeopardy. In other countries free sites are banned, Vimeo, YouTube and Google are among the top sites that receive bans from different countries. “Video not available in your country” is due to the content or company that is not allowed to be present in their society. With incognito mode this freedom of roaming and speech is still constricted and if anything heavily guarded to ensure national security puts heavy restraints on the average user who just wants to browse freely while assuming their identity is safe.

This is where VPN is useful. Now many wonder how much security a free VPN service can offer, but first, one must first understand what a VPN is. Put simply, like the incognito mode but much safer. With VPN users are much more safe from hackers, government and even peeking eyes of a boss, colleague or even a loved one.

Nowadays we must be more vigilant on how we use our data and who we chose to share it with. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated with systems breaches and acquiring the different information from consumers. With recent news even trusted social media sites are under a lens for their admittance of data mis usage. So the best way to secure yourself is using a VPN, with users are able to trick the network into thinking that it is entering a site from a different location. Constantly scrambling different information to the system all while protecting you the user from haphazardly giving out location, credit card info, password saves and potentially embarrassing sites as blackmail. The VPN itself for the user provides the security and true incognito feeling back into browsing, with all VPNs possessing the same location trick features users can certainly jump around locations in order to get the information they need. This features is especially important for digital natives who are in countries where governments put heavy security on the net which includes banning websites, certain content or even social media quota that could potentially put a problem on not only the security of the user but also their free speech and consumption as well.

Let’s say you have shopping to do for family and friends or  surprise tickets to book for your partner’s birthday. In a shared computer or for extra caution from potential peeking friends or family incognito function will do wonders. It ensures that whoever might potentially peek into your mobile device or shared computer will be safe from the surprise they are about to receive from you. Incognito is definitely a great feature to use, however it does not protect the average users from hackers nor does it give any user complete discretion as so it is advertised.

A recent study conducted from the university Chicago revealed that these are the common misconceptions that people believe when browsing on incognito: protection from government surveillance, complete discretion of location details, full protection from malware and advertisements and many more. The incognito feature was never made to protect the user fully, if anything it just meant that it would protect the next user from foreseeable embarrassment. Google even mentioned that the data collected from using incognito mode would still be used for advertisement and information in the later futures.

One of the big problems with incognito is the idea that you are completely safe from your history, now imagine sites you venture quite often. It might be your favourite news site, social media or even video community. Now compare that to a site that you have never looked into or clicked, you notice that your links have different colors, this is called a digital footprint. This footprint is visibly different only because you are using a normal browser, when you go into incognito mode that colour is nonexistent assuming that you have never clicked on that suspicious link at all. This tricks the user, the digital footprint can still be monitored by hackers, government agencies or even your unsuspecting tech savvy neighbor. You are not protected from incognito.

Incognito, a wonderful feature on your browser to use for protection from cookies, unsuspecting eyes of family members who are using shared computers, but not the best option for the user who wants more than just surface level security. VPN offers users so much more than just data security, it offers freedom to roam again without fear and access websites and connect to a community that most digital natives are akin to. 

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