Many artists, activists and performers have no idea, or even use a VPN. With the rise of activism, political art and performances, for many creatives, online privacy is essential.

Pegasus Trump as Hitler

The artist known as Pegasus depicts Trump as Adolf Hitler in Bristol, England in 2016.

The artist known as Pegasus, originally from Chicago, received death threats after their depicting Trump as Nazi Germany’s brutal dictator Adolf Hitler on a wall in Bristol, England, in February 2016.

Many artists, especially street artists, already know the importance of masking your identity, but in many cases, that doesn’t carry over to their online activities. Activists participating in controversial protests also have come under fire as their online activities spill over into their personal and professional life. Writers, journalists and reporters, especially those working in areas that are heavily monitored or censored are under pressure of masking online activity.

Hackers have doxed all the reporters covering east Ukraine’s war. Twice.

Hackers have doxed all the reporters covering east Ukraine’s war. Twice.

Public and private figures are routinely doxxed (having private or identifying information about (a particular individual) published on the Internet, typically with malicious intent) by anonymous online person(s) not sharing the same views. Last year, the names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, affiliations, and travel dates of thousands of journalists, as well as human-rights activists, were leaked onto vigilante websites that have been used to unmask opposing fighters in southeast Ukraine’s two year-old war. The leaks, and the official reactions to them, have revealed a deep suspicion of journalists who travel to both sides of the conflict and of their mandate to negotiate for permission to report from the local authorities, whoever that might be [Washington Post].

For many of these individuals that we work with, we have always recommended a VPN for them to use. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps protect your right to privacy in numerous areas of your digital life, a topic that is even more vital now than ever before. VPNs encrypt all of your traffic, replacing your ISP and routing ALL traffic through the VPN server, including all programs and applications. This also will use all benefits of the VPN server such as (Speed, Geopgraphic Location, and Security).

How VPN work - by Microsoft

How VPN’s work. By Microsoft.

With consumer privacy up for debate and our identities and activities up for sale – creatives and industry professionals in controversial industries, needing added anonymity should strongly considering using added layers of security. Using a VPN enhances your privacy and security, but you should never assume that your activity couldn’t be traced back to you if someone really, really wanted to do it.

Things to remember if considering a VPN:

  1. Your ISP cannot know what you are doing since data is encrypted
  2. ISP can only see that you are connected to a VPN
  3. VPNs are ideal to use in public wifi hotspots
  4. Your internet speeds will slow down
  5. The farther away the location of your VPN is, the more it affects your internet speeds

When working with our clients, especially those in highly controversial fields, we recommend off shore VPN, such as partner in Iceland, Golden Frog. Iceland has one of the strongest internet privacy laws.

With global news is dominated by instances of hacking, mass data collection, data snooping and more, and as our lives are now digitally intertwined with our computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, it might be the right time to consider how you interact with the Internet.