it is that simple people.
You MUST contract with and ISP(that would be the person you pay for internet service) - so your traffic WILL flow over a large corporate router at some point - actually at least two points - once on the way out and once on the way back in to your home. It MUST go through the ISP's router that connects you to the web. Here is where the dirty fingers of the NSA can get whatever they want.
I am posting this on the dp. When I hit save - it is going to post this message. It is going to break this big rant up into many little packets. Those packets are going to go from my computer - through my personal router - then to my ISP's router. From there it will take many paths to the DP server. But understand - it ALL will start at one router - the ISP's - it HAS to start there - that is the onramp to the highway.
This is where the NSA can easily grab the traffic. And if your ISP is in on it(which by all accounts it probably is) then the NSA merely mirrors all traffic from your ISP's router over to their servers to store the data.
The encryption will prevent Joe 25yo geek at your isp from reading your email, but I don't hold much hope it will stop the NSA. And as for hiding your ip address - well - you cant hide that FROM the isp you are getting the ip address from - so that's not much help either if the ISP just hands it over - which is exactly what they are doing.
If you are worried about joe nobody or local punk reading your stuff - go ahead and get encryption over a vpn. If you are worried about the NSA - stop using the internet(well, except to post of the dailypaul of course).