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Reports reveal that usage of VPNs have increased significantly after numerous data scandals

by Harikrishna Mekala

With a number of companies having been involved in large data scandals and the repeal of Net Neutrality the knock on effect would seem to have spurred many people into buying VPN services.

VPN makers are now advertising on Television with statements such as “Don’t be Tracked Online”. It’s apparent that it is mostly after the wake of  many data scandals which caused the spike in sales. A report from the company Edison Trends show that the purchase of the VPN services from the companies like Avast, Norton and NordVPN have increased significantly in Amazon App store and Google Play Store.

The report also reveals that after Dec 14 when the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality that paid subscriptions to the VPN services have doubled with the trend going even higher after the Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal.

More than 17% of North Americans use a VPN according to the GlobalWebIndex December issue. The same report found that 25 percent of Internet users globally are currently using some sort of VPN service. In the past month, more than 30% of the population in nations like India, Turkey, Indonesia and China have started using a VPN.

“Part of the concern with the net neutrality issue is that [internet service providers] can now sell your data to advertising agencies,” said William McCormick, founder of marketing and public relations agency Pure Knot. “People understand that when they visit a website of their choice, they will get ads. What will really annoy consumers is when their data is being sold by a third party they didn’t consent to.”

This growing VPN usage will lead to a problem for marketers when it comes to IP based targeting because the VPN gives an alternate ISP for the VPN users which makes it impossible for the users to track their customers.

A VPN changes the location of the user which makes local ads ineffective. NordVPN has posted a blog post titled “How to stop Facebook from sharing your info with Third Party Apps” which guides the user to remove all the applications associated with the user’s account.

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