Orchid’s Travis Cannell on VPNs, privacy, and online identityApr 18, 2022
"In the United States, your internet service provider is able to monitor and record every website that you're going to," said Travis Cannell, Head of Product & Marketing at Orchid. He was speaking to Orchid's Derek Silva on this week's episode of the Priv8 Podcast about how VPNs can offer privacy to their users.
"Once they've recorded this data, they sell it -- most without your consent or knowledge -- to third party marketers. These marketers then collect that data and cross reference it with information that they can gather from other sources, like your phone. Their goal is to build out a complete marketing profile based on your identity and online activity."
Travis remarked on the trail of information that most people don't realize they're leaving every time they go online. "While these data collectors and marketers may not have information like your name, they may have your IP address. That's a lot of information."
This is why using a VPN is so important for protecting your personal information online. "VPNs can provide some privacy from internet service providers," Travis said.
However, using centralized VPN services -- which may assign users with a static IP -- may not be a sufficient means of protection against marketing profilers. "If you're connecting to the same VPN over and over again, then that VPN's IP address is now almost like your own address." In other words, it could be used to tie your behavior with your identity.
Travis explained that Orchid's decentralized VPN network aims to solve this problem by assigning users to random nodes, giving them different IP addresses every time they sign on.
"Orchid has a decentralized network and stake-weighted random selection that gives you a random server every time you want a connection. This randomization is great if you're not trying to route your traffic through any particular place. It also adds a layer of extra security."
"In this way, Orchid is not really a 'traditional' VPN. It doesn't run VPN servers. Rather, we've built Orchid's VPN marketplace as an interoperable, decentralized system that can contribute to a more private world."