A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is a relatively new, but very popular service, as of lately. It allows people to stay completely anonymous online, protecting their identities, their search history, as well as their communications.
It also helps people access censored content, as well as blocked websites and other online services. There are many VPN companies out there, some better than other.
While more and more people are increasingly looking to add a VPN to their digital arsenal, some companies are fighting against the practice. Let’s first take a short look at why anyone would want to block such a service.
In schools, universities and campuses, people tend to use public computers for all kinds of shenanigans. IT departments in such institutions are doing all they can to make sure their computers are safe of malware and other viruses. Also, many networks in such places block access to the likes of YouTube or Facebook, to save on bandwidth, or to make sure students aren’t wasting their time browsing on social media. VPNs can bypass these security measures, making them undesirable.
Some companies have strict rules regarding copyright, which means that a lot of content cannot legally be played in certain countries. That is why a lot of content (mostly video) is often blocked in certain parts of the world. A VPN can allow access to geographically locked content.
If you are thinking about using a VPN, you should first inform about the different versions to choose which one is best for you. For example, you can start by reading a IPvanish review.
Those are just some of the reasons behind the effort to block VPNs. Even though some are legal and logical, other are way more sinister. Let’s take a look at five companies fighting against VPN, and why they’re doing it:
Netflix is one of the biggest companies cracking down on VPN users, and the one to cause the biggest outrage. Literally, millions of people all over the world have protested against Netflix’s decision, writing petitions and erecting billboards to show their discontent. Netflix was cracking down on VPN users to protect its geo-blocking features.
For pretty much the same reasons, Hulu, another video streaming service, started cracking down on VPN users. It wanted to block international pirates from accessing its US-based services. Luckily for everyone, it failed, miserably. Hulu has more than six million paying subscribers in the US. Besides the US, it is available only in Japan.
Unlike video streaming services, which are blocking VPN users because it’s bad for business, governments of many countries around the world are blocking VPN services because they want to keep tabs on what their people are doing. Countries like China and Iran are the biggest advocates of VPN blocking.
ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, will often employ various VPN blocking techniques because they don’t want to get into conflict with other big companies, such as Netflix or Hulu. They also don’t want to be on any government’s radar, so sometimes, they’ll block access to VPN services.
In February this year, PayPal has blocked access to its services to those people who try to reach them through a VPN. The online payment service has done it for the same reason ISPs sometimes do – because they believe they’ve been used to facilitate copyright infringement.