All true, and I always wish I had a 700 word disclaimer as a signature lol.VPN's were developed for business originally, not for crime, or political activism, or whistleblowers. A VPN uses a public network (internet) and establishes a private network on top of the public network using an encrypted "tunneling" protocol. This lets remote users, like a bank branch office, communicate with the corporate computers and maintain their privacy and security. Before this technology, companies used a LOT of dedicated landline phone circuits... at great expense. So VPN's were good for the banks, but bad for the phone companies.
As the folks above said, the ability to mask your true IP address with VPN's and proxies has had the "side benefit" of allowing a lot of activities to to be somewhat hidden... activities that might not be legal in all countries. And it has helped to protect identities of people who really do need protections. But this ability may be doomed. If you want to read a strong (but short) "anti-VPN" rant, check this out.
Bitcoin, the unbreakable cryptocurrency, is not so unbreakable after all (see here and here, for example). VPN's and proxies are not invincible either, as also being discussed above while I'm still typing this. The Tor Network is not invincible either. This is one of the reasons I've not really pursued any of these technologies... I haven't really felt that I've needed them myself, and I also don't want to be trapped in a false sense of security. But I am certainly a strong advocate for privacy and security for average, everyday people like us, not just for rich and powerful people and governments.
The battle over encryption is one of the greatest cat-and-mouse games at play today. Many teams want to make encryption stronger and ever more secure... and that is needed because other teams are constantly working to break it and hack it, both in the name of law enforcement and as a means to steal your money.
And here we are, caught in the middle. I like online banking and pay all my bills with it. But I am always reading technology news to consider whether I should reevaluate my use of it. It does indeed make me nervous, at times.
And don't even think about asking me for biometric security, like submitting a fingerprint or iris scan online.... I absolutely do not trust technology for that. In no way would I give Google or Apple my fingerprint just so I can check my email. I can change a password, if it is compromised. If biometric data is ever compromised, then what?
Stepping down from my soapbox. Thanks for your attention.
One has to consider what kind of technical knowledge they have and what platform they must do their business on, and do the best they can. Having followed careful directions and observed the results since I don't have the technical knowledge to structure my own controlled experiments, and seen that anonymity is nearly impossible against someone with unlimited resources, I certainly agree.
I can't however read a single article even mentioning Linux security without encryption as the keyword. For those who insist on not learning to use Linux or make any attempt beyond downloading some apps to a device that clearly states (perhaps on page 27) that they can and will get in your business, VPN and encrypted application are so much better than nothing, the gurus alluded to will hardly advise without mentioning both.
I shiver at the thought of google and such with my every detailed biometric measurement but I feel sure they already have those, and did long ago.
The entire issue applies less to Linux users in general though which is why I'm here trying to learn about it