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I am extremely concerned that my ISP collects any information once I am connected to a VPN server. For instance, as far as I know, when I start a connection to a HotSpotShield VPN server, an IP address is assigned to me just before a successful connection. Besides, I'll be having an extra IP address at the beginning with the TAP Adapter. An encryption tunnel is set up between me and the VPN server. Whenever my request for a website reaches them (VPN server), they decrypt the data and later they encrypt the reply which returns from the web (targeted) server. This works like that. So, the ISP can not see what I am watching, displaying and writing because the connection is encrypted. But, the targeted websites see and record all actions. Still, they can not identify my real IP address.

I'm really concerned about if the ISP can see "my location". OK, it has an IP address from another country as my real IP address, but how does my ISP detect the traffic going through them? Can they find out who I am? Won't they say "Hey, there is a traffic but who is and what he is doing right now?", because I get the Internet from them?

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Your ISP can see your real IP no matter what you think the VPN is doing. Your traffic MUST go through them whatever happens (unless you are dialing to a remote connection using traditinoal modem). –  Paul Sullivan Mar 31 '12 at 21:35
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I don't understand. Of course your ISP knows who you are because they charge your credit card every month, and of course they also know where you are because they probably installed a wire of some kind going in to your home in order to deliver you Internet access. Do you mean to ask if the web sites you browse to can know your location? –  Celada Mar 31 '12 at 22:29
    
No ISP cares to spend the time and resources to look at what you are doing on your internet connection. Simply put, if you aren't breaking their network, they just don't care. Now if you are doing something to get a law enforcement angency involved, then your concerns are moot - they'll do what they need to do to track you down. Just because data goes through networks (not just the ISP's, but many along the way to the destination server) doesn't mean they care to look at every packet that comes through. –  MaQleod Apr 1 '12 at 3:35
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5 Answers

Actually, your ISP will know your local (external) IP and the IP number that is assigned to you by the VPN provider you connect to (ie. HotSpot Shield). Your ISP can also tell how much data, both incoming and outgoing, is being transmitted through your connection with them.

What they (your ISP) cannot tell is what activity is taking place over that connection. Whether you are doing webmail, torrenting, pirating, etc. Remember, this is a VPN connection between your local computer and HotSpot Shield; HotSpot Shield is now the port open to the Internet. What flows over their pipe is encrypted/shielded within a "tunnel".

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If your problem is "Does my ISP know my location?" Yes they do. You are identified on the internet by your IP address. Before you get connected to the VPN provider you are already connected to your ISP who gives you an IP address with which you can identify yourself to the VPN providers. So yes your ISP knows who you are.

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All your internet traffic is routed through your ISP; a VPN, anonymizer, or other similiar service doesn't change that at all.

Your ISP can see your IP (they assigned it to you), as can any other middleman in between you and the proxy. IP is not directly equivalent to location, however, and in many cases the IP will locate to the ISP, not you. So in that sense, only your ISP can pinpoint your location.

If you want to test this, connect to the Internet (without your VPN running), use this site to determine your IP, and use this site to look up the location associated with the IP.

In recap, your ISP can pinpoint your location, any middleman between you and the VPN server can pinpoint it to the degree measured with the above test, and any site accessed through the VPN cannot locate you at all.

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The very act of you connecting to the internet through your ISP assigned IP address to the internet starts a logging process that identifies the NOC you come in on, the assigned address and from that, fairly reasonably, at least which city they locate you in by their delivery of connection services to the internet. Most provisioning requires registration of the device MAC, so they even know from billing and this piece of information, your physical address. Also depending on the VPN you are using, they even know that you are sending VPN traffic over the internet.

Anonymity on the internet is conditional and usually a lot less attainable than most people assume (and we've all heart the old saw about that). You may disguise yourself from the other end, but you must access it from somewhere. The only way you can start to disguise your insertion point is if you steal services or use someone else's wifi hotspots.

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Without knowing exactly how their VPN works, I can't say for 100% certain - but with most VPN tunnels, your ISP will be able to tell:

When you established the VPN tunnel When you disconnected the VPN tunnel

They should not be able to see what you used the tunnel for, nor what IP address the VPN endpoint assigned you.

They will know the 'real' (ie non-VPN) public IP address you are using, and they will know which bank account they charge for it, and they will know which address the line is registered at.

If you are still worried about this, you might like to look at using Tor instead of/as well as - your VPN solution.

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Thanks for answers. However, i couldn't get what i seek from your posts. Not satisfying. I asked this question because of the censorship we have been experiencing. –  Ozgun S May 30 '12 at 19:22
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protected by Community Jul 16 '13 at 4:06

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