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Before You Invest In a VPN, You Need To Think About This

If you care about your data privacy, we’d recommend investing in a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is a handy bit of technology that scrambles the information you send across the internet. Some explain it as a secure tunnel that makes it harder for hackers to get their paws on sensitive information and monitor your online activity.

Written by Adam Bovan

June 2019

With a VPN, you can stay secure when working on public Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, trains and hotels. A little bonus is that a VPN enables you to access geo-restricted content on platforms like Netflix and YouTube.

However, before you jump in and say “Where do I sign up?”, there are a few things you must consider. While a lot of people are becoming aware of VPNs and their benefits, not many have heard of the Fourteen Eyes. And, this network of countries is something you need to bear in mind before choosing your VPN provider.

What are the Fourteen Eyes?

The Fourteen Eyes started out as the Five Eyes, which derived from the UKUSA Agreement; an agreement to collect, analyse and share intelligence between its member states.

Initially, this was the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The Five Eyes then went on to add other “third-party” partner countries – including France, Holland, Norway and Denmark – creating the Nine Eyes.

Today, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Spain are all part of the agreement.

It allows the powers that be in these countries access to each other’s data and intelligence.

How does the Fourteen Eyes affect VPN users?

If you choose a VPN provider in a Fourteen Eyes country, your data may not be as private as what you were first led to believe.

In theory, if you bought a VPN in a Fourteen Eyes country, the US government could demand access to customer data from your VPN provider.

What’s more, the VPN company could also be ordered not to let their customers know that this is happening.

What do I need to consider before purchasing a VPN?

Find out what country (or countries) your VPN provider is located in.

We’ve used the plural of countries because VPN providers could be based as a business in one country, but their servers spread over several places.

It’s crucial to find out your VPN provider’s jurisdiction (which refers to the laws and regulations surrounding your VPN provider), your VPN provider’s business location and its server location.

You can actually check to see whether your VPN country is one of the Fourteen Eyes here. 

It’s important to remember that a VPN is to be used as part of your wider cybersecurity plan. If you need a hand with any aspect of cybersecurity, contact a member of our team today.

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