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Why You Should Use the VPN in the Minter Browser

In today’s blog, I will describe the importance of using a virtual private network (VPN) in a post-Net Neutrality era and why BlockMint decided to integrate a specially-built and fast VPN into its Minter browser.

This week, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would bring back Net Neutrality in the United States. The bill still has to be approved by both the House and the Senate and it faces long odds in a Republican-controlled Senate. So what is Net Neutrality and how will a VPN help if Net Neutrality is not available?

What is Net Neutrality?

In simplest terms, Net Neutrality means treating all internet traffic data the same regardless of the following:

  • the application type generating the data (for example, video app or email app);
  • the protocol used for sending or receiving data (for example, HTTP or IMAP); and
  • the destination IP address of the data (for example, Netflix’s IP addresses or Gmail’s IP addresses).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can detect when you are watching videos with the Netflix app which uses the HTTP protocol to stream videos, and when you use the Gmail client app which uses IMAP/POP protocol to fetch emails for you. This means that ISPs can, at their discretion without Net Neutrality regulations in place, treat video data traffic differently from email data traffic.

Proponents of Net Neutrality advocate that allowing ISPs to exercise such discretion can lead to discrimination of traffic data and ultimately lead to bad user experience. For example, a regional ISP can prioritize your email data traffic over your neighbor’s video traffic since video traffic is data intensive and could use up the physically shared bandwidth resources that both your email traffic and your neighbor’s video traffic go through.

Opponents of Net Neutrality advocate that giving the ISP the right to treat internet traffic data at their discretion (to some extent) would lead to additional market opportunities for the ISPs in an era of internet-of-everything where ISPs handle massive amounts of data that is generated daily, estimated at about 2.5 quintillion bytes per day according to a recent study.

What does a VPN do?

By using a VPN, a user generally obfuscates the three key internet traffic attributes that I mentioned earlier from their ISP or other prying parties. This means that an ISP can only infer a user’s application or protocol data traffic type based on the amount of data that has passed through their pipes, they cannot see these attributes.

The use of VPNs has grown considerably in recent years, as public awareness and applications continue to rise. In fact, one quarter of all Internet users have accessed a VPN in the last month, with mobile access growing in popularity.

The VPN integrated in the Minter browser is not only one of the fastest, but also censorship resistant as well; which means that it would be incredibly hard for an ISP or other prying eyes to detect the fact that a Minter user is using a VPN.

We suggest using a VPN, such as the one built in Minter, to keep your activity online private and prevent throttling by your ISP.

Nelson Ijih
Chief Executive Officer