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More people are using VPNs to skirt around censorship

Jun 1

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In recent years, internet users have increasingly resorted to virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect their online privacy. However, amid a slew of social media restrictions and efforts around the world to ban online apps outright, VPNs are evidently being used as a tool to combat censorship.

A VPN is an internet tool that protects a user’s information by masking their device’s IP address, allowing a user to surf the web privately. By modifying their geographic location, VPNs often also allow users to evade common regional restrictions.

In Turkey, after Twitter began blocking specific content leading up to the country’s presidential elections in May, VPN companies reported a significant surge in VPN usage in Turkey, according to TechRadar. The VPN company Proton VPN reported a peak of 44,000 daily sign-ups at one point amidst censorship concerns.

In a similar context, millions of Russians have turned to VPNs in an effort to bypass state-controlled media reporting on the invasion of neighboring Ukraine, news reports say. This comes as Russian authorities have cracked down on media narratives not towing the official line on the war, according to The Washington Post.

Notably, more than 1,000 internet sites have been restricted by Russian authorities – including Facebook, Instagram, and BBC News – since the conflict began, according to a survey by a VPN technology tracker.

While numerous countries worldwide have also witnessed VPNs gain traction among their citizens, there have been notable crackdowns on the use of VPNs.

According to NordVPN, at least 13 countries have made VPNs illegal to some extent, although the enforcement of these bans is not always clear-cut. Evidently, users have managed to find ways to circumvent the restrictions.

Currently, approximately one-third of the world’s 5 billion internet users have adopted VPN usage, and this figure is expected to rise in the future.

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DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE AROUND THE WORLD, YOU MAY HAVE HAD YOUR ACCESS TO AN ARTICLE OR A CERTAIN WEBSITE RESTRICTED

 

WHETHER IT’S THE BAN ON TWITTER & VARIOUS MEDIA OUTLETS IN CHINA OR THE STATE OF MONTANA’S RECENT BAN ON TIKTOK…

 

CALL IT A NECESSARY EVIL OR FLAT OUT CENSORSHIP THERE’S A SIMPLE INTERNET TOOL MORE PEOPLE ARE USING TO SKIRT AROUND THOSE RESTRICTIONS AND IT’S CALLED A VPN – 

 

*I’M SURE YOU’VE SEEN THE ADS FOR IT AT SOME POINT BUT I ASSURE YOU THIS IS NOT SPONSORED* 

 

A VPN OR VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK IS A MECHANISM THAT SETS UP A BARRIER AROUND YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION ALLOWING YOU TO USE THE INTERNET PRIVATELY – AS SUCH IT CAN ALLOW YOU TO MODIFY YOUR GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AS THOUGH YOU’RE SOMEWHERE ELSE LETTING YOU BYPASS COMMON RESTRICTIONS THAT ARE PLACED IN YOUR REGION – IT’S LONG BEEN USED AS A WORKAROUND FOR CENSORSHIP

 

EXHIBIT A IS TURKEY – WHERE TWITTER BEGAN BLOCKING CERTAIN CONTENT AHEAD OF THE COUNTRY’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS LAST MONTH  – TECHRADAR REPORTS THERE WAS A NOTABLE SPIKE IN USERS THERE USING VPNS AMID CENSORSHIP CONCERNS – AT ONE POINT A SINGLE VPN COMPANY SAID THEY SAW 44,000 DAILY SIGN UPS…

 

SPEAKING OF A CONTROLLED NARRATIVE – THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTS MILLIONS OF RUSSIANS HAVE ALSO TURNED TO VPNS AFTER RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES LAUNCHED A CRACKDOWN ON ANY MEDIA NOT TOWING THE OFFICIAL LINE ON RUSSIA’S OFFENSE – MORE THAN 1,000 INTERNET SITES ARE CURRENTLY RESTRICTED IN RUSSIA

 

PEOPLE IN PLACES LIKE CHINA AND IRAN AND HAVE ALSO USED VPNS TO ACCESS THE OUTSIDE WORLD THOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN SOME NOTABLE EFFORTS TO BAN THE USE OF THE TOOL OUTRIGHT

 

ACCORDING TO NORDVPN AT LEAST 13 COUNTRIES MAKE VPN’S ILLEGAL TO SOME DEGREE THOUGH ENFORCING IT IS NOT ALWAYS CLEAR CUT AND EVIDENTLY SOME USERS HAVE MANAGED TO SKIRT AROUND RESTRICTIONS

RIGHT NOW ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WORLD’S ROUGHLY 5 BILLION INTERNET USERS HAVE ADOPTED THE USE OF A VPN AND THAT FIGURE IS EXPECTED TO RISE

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