Use a VPN

Hi Everyone

Welcome to another episode of the UK’s slide into a right-wing totalitarian state. The government, cravenly unopposed by the supine opposition, just signed the Snooper’s Charter into law. This is a monumentally bad idea, and a worse one is coming in the form of the Digital Economy Bill.

The state, in the form of more or less any agency that cares to ask for it, can now find out every website you visited in the last year from your internet service provider. They don’t even need a warrant. Let that sink in for a while. Even if you have nothing to hide and are doing nothing wrong, the information that a junior civil servant can punch up about you is very worrying. And of course, the records will be hacked or sold corruptly to the tabloids or anyone who wants them.

If you live in Britain, the government have effectively just installed webcams pointing in through every window in your house.

I urge everyone reading this who lives in the UK to install and start using a VPN (virtual private network). Choose one that’s registered in another country, that doesn’t keep logs, and choose one that you pay for. British ones have to obey the same snooping laws to spy on you that your internet service provider does. Free ones sell your data, which is the opposite of what you want. And if the company doesn’t keep logs, they don’t even have the information to pass on.

This is not a panacea. It means placing some trust in the VPN operator, for a start. But if they make their money by running the service, it is in their interests to do a good job for you.

A VPN routes your internet activity through its internal network so outsiders can’t see where you are going. It also encrypts the data as it goes to make it hard to snoop on. All your ISP can report to the government is that you are using a VPN: they can’t tell them which sites you have visited or anything much else. They’ve been used by companies for years to allow people to connect to the company’s internal network whist working away so they don’t have to worry about security at random free wifi hotspots. They are a mature and well-integrated technology which integrates easily with modern devices (for example, iPhones bring up a little “VPN” icon when you’re connected).

This was already pretty good practice for protection against hacking and cyber-crime. State-sponsored intrusion into ALL our private lives is on a whole different level, though, and I really must urge everyone in the UK to do something to limit the information that a junior civil servant or policeman can find out about you. It’s only a matter of months before the records are hacked, too, and some poor celebrity’s choice of porn will be splashed all over the tabloids. The number of people suddenly having access to everything you’ve looked at online will be HUGE, and corrupt release of records or out and out hacking the database is pretty much a certainty.

If you are very concerned, you can use Tor. In fact you can use Tor over a VPN, but this slows things down a lot. A well-run VPN should have relatively minimal impact on your connection speed.

The state has just installed CCTV pointing in through every window in your house. A VPN is drawing the curtains. If you live in the UK, I strongly urge you to install and use a VPN right now.

You can find out some good ones here:


About Hywel

Particle physicist turned fetish photographer, producer and director. I run and together with my wife, who is variously known as Ariel Anderssen or Amelia Jane Rutherford, depending on whether she's getting tied up or spanked at the time.

6 thoughts on “Use a VPN

  1. I have to say: Inveighing against this policy as “Right Wing” is a mistake, even if you find it personally comforting to do so.

    First, the right-wingers I hang with (e.g. at are generally opposed to this, often vehemently so.

    Second, a huge number of leftists are either OK with the Snoopers Charter, or else object only because they believe that the wrong people are in charge. Thus the supine non-resistance by the opposition.

    Third, effective political opposition to this requires bringing it under fire from the Right, as well as from the Left. Perhaps especially from the Right, given how the Left now has negative credibility, with many people viewing left-wing opposition to a policy as strong evidence in favor of that policy.

    The Snoopers Charter what we in the US call a bipartisan policy – one that is both stupid AND evil. It therefore needs to draw opposition from a broad base, and doing so is too important to make it a totem of left-wing tribal solidarity with ritual grimaces against those icky nasty right-wingers.

    • I’m equally as disgusted with our limp left-opposition party for failing to stop it as I am with the government for bringing it in.

      It is as you say this particular policy is an unholy alliance between the authoritarian wings of both left and right.

      In the UK it is the right-wing party currently in government that HAS brought it in, though. And that party is increasingly being forced into even more right-wing stances by the forces of UKIP, and more authoritarian ones by the faction that has risen to power in the aftermath of the referendum.

      So while some on the left are clearly OK with it, they aren’t actually the ones writing the legislation affecting us right now. The left-wing party talked of (significantly less far reaching) schemes in the past, but were dissuaded from bringing it in. The Tories are so busy stealing the hardline right-wing nationalist policies of UKIP and dealing with the clusterfuck of Brexit that even previous champions of individual rights like David Davis have completely dropped the ball and let the authoritarian wing of the Conservatives under Theresa May bring in a whole bunch of stuff they’ve been ITCHING to do for years. The Liberal Democrats stopped them doing it during the coalition years.

      As it happens, both our main two parties seem to have taken a strongly authoritarian line recently, which is more than a little depressing. Actually I just resigned from the Labour Party in protest and have rejoined the Lib Dems- it seems like we’re in much more dire need of a liberal/libertarian/individualist voice in this country than we are of a left-wing set of economic policies. Not what I considered the position to be before the referendum for sure.

      I look back fondly on the days of June when the worst we had to worry about was a flat-lined economy and wages of the vast majority still 10% down in real terms on where they were a decade ago. Now we’re having to gear up to resist actual Fascism. Our government is very busy trying to stigmatize and blame everything on foreigners. I’m not kidding- they proposed to “name and shame” businesses that employed too many foreign employees. That was a step too far – for the moment. But it is very indicative of their thinking and the part they want to take. It’s very depressing. Right-wing and left-wing totalitarian states are barely distinguishable, but it happens to be a right-wing government presiding over the lurch towards totalitarianism in the UK right now.

      Regards, Hywel

  2. If you decide a voluntary exile, we will welcome you with open arms. I speak from Andalusia, where I think seasons pass. Although I think Ariel is too British to withstand so many sunny days and the lack of rain. It occurs to me that a British “placebo” touch might be a trip to Gibraltar every week.

    A greeting from Cordoba

    • Thank you! If this had all happened three years ago, we’d very likely have emigrated. We have friends in Spain, in a couple of areas, and I’m very fond of Cordoba and (especially) Grenada myself.

      Thing is, we lucked into finding a house which we love, in a town we really feel at home, in a beautiful part of the country. When we lived in a perfectly nice but perfectly ordinary semi in Reading, moving wouldn’t have been much of a wrench. But now it feels like we’ve got more to lose than just the business.

      It’s still on the cards- we’re obviously monitoring the situation very anxiously. I can’t say that Brexit is making it any easier to decide. In any reasonable world even recent UK migrants to the EU and EU migrants to the UK would be protected. But we’re not in a reasonable world just at the moment, I can see our hard-line Brexiteers forcing the EU into punitive actions. So we’re not hugely sanguine about moving for that reason, too.

      Most of all though it feels like admitting defeat. We’re lucky enough that we probably do have enough assets and savings that we probably can move abroad and continue our business. But what about all the people we know in the UK who can’t? What about our friends, and the children of our friends? Someone has to stay and fight. I guess the day may well come when we abandon the fight and get out, but I think I’ve got one more round of resistance in me before leaving.

      One other minor problem is that Ariel would like to go somewhere warmer than here and I’d like to go somewhere cooler (with mountains) which might be a bit tricky to arrange! (Although again Granada, mountains, hmmm!) 🙂 🙂 🙂

      In independent Scotland within the EU is looking like a distinct possibility though…

  3. I think you’ve hit a number of nails on the head, Hywel.

    I think that Corbyn and McDonnell are instinctively libertarian on issues around sex. McDonnell, in particular, has been a longstanding supporter of sex workers. There problem lies with some of those in the Labour Party who have substituted “identity politics” for old-fashioned socialism. It was notable that when Corbyn made noises about simple decriminalisation of prostitution, nominal “feminists” who support the “Scandinavian model” of criminalising punters leapt down his throat, predictably led by Jess Phillips. The “feminists” are left completely baffled by women such as Pandora Blake, Mr Justice Eady’s “Woman D” and, of course, your own other half. IfI were a single issue man, I might be tempted to follow you to the Lib Dems….

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