A recent Wall StreetJournal article drew attention to the fact that, “Companies are watching you. They want to know where you go on the web, what you buy and what causes you support—with the hope of sending you targeted offers based on your preferences and lifestyle choices.”

When browsing the internet, consumers without proper protection are unknowingly sharing lots of personal information they probably wouldn’t if they knew they were being watched.

Now Google Inc., another company known for watching over our shoulders, has reached a  $7 million settlement with some 30 U.S. states over a 2010 “Wi-Spy” incident in which its Street View mapping cars collected passwords and other personal data from home wireless networks.

The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Edith Ramirez recently remarked, “Over the last three years, the FTC has issued more than 50 enforcement actions on privacy and data enforcement, and no fewer than five major policy reports giving guidance to companies.”  Concern about data privacy is reaching critical mass.

It’s no wonder why AnchorFree, the provider of the world’s most popular consumer virtual private network (VPN), is Forbes’sixth most promising company in America.

The Silicon Valley start-up has provided over 100 million global users with Hotspot Shield—a free app that enables secure browsing, online privacy protection, mobile data compression, and freedom to access all internetcontent across iPhones, Android devices, PCs and Macs.

Companies taking consumer privacy seriously are getting the attention of consumers and government agencies alike.

According to AnchorFree’s CEO, David Gorodyansky, “Being selected as the sixth most promising company demonstrates the importance of empowering consumers with choice and control over their personal information online. From safeguarding personal privacy to protecting against hackers and identity theft, VPNs such as AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield arm us with the tools we need to enjoy all the information and communication benefits that the internethas to offer—safely.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

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