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I have notice online that many people get a VPN so that ISP can not view the sites you visit, create a profile of you and so on.

Reading How safe is it to connect to Internet through VPN?, Jonah answers that "You need to think of connecting to a VPN like walking over to a physical network and plugging your computer into a switch there.".

In that if you are in x location with x ISP, and connect to the y VPN/VPS location with y ISP aren't you still getting data recorded? Wouldn't logging in to facebook where your profile name appears in the url even identify you more to y ISP?

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2 Answers

No matter how you connect through the Internet using proxies, VPNs, JonDo, Tor or whatever, the final server in the chain sees what sites you're connecting to. There's no way to prevent that. What you can do, however, is use end-to-end encryption to hide the content, and take appropriate steps to prevent tracing the traffic back to you. If you're concerned about global adversaries, your proxy chain had better include Tor. Also, be careful about what you disclose to sites that you're connecting to.

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You are correct.

That's why you should also use SSL, choose your VPN location/ISP wisely, or even use a mixnet.

  • Any good web based encryption or secured medium (HTTPS,SSL,TLS,SSH Tunnel,etc) will protect the URL and content,however the ISP will still know where you connected to (ie. they'll know the VPN node you're connected to, not the end destination).
  • If you choose your ISP wisely you can evade data retention (e.g. in Austria only ISPs who reach a certain annual turnover have to implement data retention (unless you are not worried about 3-letter-agencies eavesdropping somewhere between your ISP and the server).
  • If that's not enough, you can use https://www.torproject.org but there are a lot of things you can get wrong when configuring it (you might still reveal your identity to the exitnodes, they might try to DO MITM, etc.) You will find all the information you might need on their website though.
  • If data contents going through the ISP have to be concealed, you do not need to use an expensive VPN. SSH tunneling through a random rented shared server or using a trusted & encrypted session to a proxy work just as fine. Research on SOCKS5 proxies for example.

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What's a mixnet? –  SteveS Jul 5 '12 at 2:20
    
It is a network of proxies using encryption and changing routes. e.g. TOR. read more at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mix_network –  Tie-fighter Jul 5 '12 at 7:14
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