With the kind-of-launch of the Australian government's telecommunications data retention regime, there's been a plethora of advice everywhere – from “lad mags” to the tech press to political parties – with one theme: “get a virtual private network” (VPN).
Which moves Vulture South to idly wonder: do people know that a VPN on Android might only protect data emanating from the phone, and not (for example) a laptop tethered to its WiFi?
This isn't news, it's just an observation that consumer-level advice about information security is not to be trusted. To make recommendations about security you have to be the kind of obsessive that assumes nothing, takes nothing at face value and checks everything.
Vulture South can't claim that kind of attention to detail: the issue was pointed out to us by someone else. We do, however, like to test things for ourselves, so we downloaded two copies of OpenVPN (one on the MacBook Pro, one on the Samsung S5) and set to work.
TLDR: OpenVPN on Android only protects communications originating on the phone, but not a tethered PC, as we show below.