Splainer

Thursday, September 9 2021


Dive In

As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.

That’s from a court petition filed by Britney Spears’ father Jamie asking to terminate his role as her conservator—and also the 13-year conservatorship. It put a sudden end to a years-long saga that has included a Free Britney movement, heated speculation over Spears’ mental health and emotional court testimony from Spears herself—where she claimed that Spears Sr. “loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it.” We explained the conservatorship here.


Editor’s note: Happy Ganesh Chathurthi to all! We will be back with all the news, views and other good stuff Monday morning. Wishing you all a very festive weekend! A good use of all that free time: Checking out the latest episode of the splainer podcast ‘Press Decode’—where the team discusses all kinds of madness, be it anti-abortion laws or overpriced art. Head over to the IVM website, Spotify or Apple Podcasts to check it out.

 
Big Story

Coming soon: A ban on virtual private networks

The TLDR: A parliamentary committee recently recommended a total ban on virtual private networks aka VPNs. If implemented, it will have a significant impact on the data security of companies—and your right to privacy. We quickly explain why this will give the government total control over your internet access.

 

What is a VPN exactly?

Think of it as an encrypted tunnel that lets you browse the internet in total privacy. When you sign up for a VPN service, it first jumbles up all your data so no one can read it. And it hides your device’s unique IP address—rerouting it via one of its servers so it can’t be traced back to you. There are free VPN services and the paid variety. They are widely used by both individuals and companies.

 

And why would anyone use a VPN?

Here are a number of good reasons:

  • You can protect your data when you are using public wi-fi networks, say, in a cafe. It hides information like browsing history, banking information, account passwords—which may be attractive to hackers. 
  • You can hide your data from your internet provider. Without a VPN, an Airtel or Jio has access to all your online data. They can see exactly where, when and what you browse.
  • VPNs can also block nosy apps like Facebook from collecting information about your activity—including location etc.
  • The networks offer data security to companies when their employees are working from home or some other remote location. They can access the office network—and share or look at confidential information—without worrying about hackers.
  • It helps you access geo-blocked sites and apps like TikTok or PuBG. And since you can pretend to be anywhere in the world, you can access Netflix US or Hulu—basically any kind of content that is not available online in India.

 

Why does the committee want to ban it?

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Mexico legalises abortion
  • Supermodels unite against sexual abuse
  • Pure water is bad for tea
  • Australian musk ducks can imitate humans

 

Reading Habit

  • Vera Kurian takes a dive into the world of 'Dark Academia'
  • Coming up: New Miss Marple short stories!
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