According to Access Now, a non-governmental organization that advocates for digital rights, internet filtering has become more sophisticated and is “lasting longer, affecting more people and targeting vulnerable groups.” Motivated by political power, restrictive social mores, and national security, authoritarian regimes in dozens of countries have used internet filtering and blackouts to limit access to information.
To circumvent government restrictions, you’ll need to install the necessary technologies on your internet-connected devices, particularly during times of crisis or political unrest. This is where a properly configured virtual private network (VPN) may assist you.
A VPN encrypts your connection and sends it via an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server located in another country, where it is protected from local restrictions. By disguising your IP address in this manner, you may guarantee that you can acquire critical information without the risk of intervention from the authorities.
How VPNs work
A VPN establishes a connection between your device and a VPN server before directing your traffic to its intended destination (e.g., the website you are trying to access). The websites you visit will only see the VPN server’s IP address, not your device’s, and your internet service provider (ISP) will know that your device is connected to the VPN server, not the website you’re viewing.
If your local network administrator or national government tries to ban a certain website or app, you may use a VPN to connect to another network that is not blocked, thereby circumventing censorship efforts.
VPNs protect your device’s IP address and internet activity. When you use a VPN, your personal information is protected.
How internet censorship works
Censorship of the internet may take a variety of forms.
On a smaller scale, your employer, university administrator, or local library—whoever manages the network you’re linked to—may restrict access to certain websites from computers connected to their network.
Governments may also ban websites that they believe pose a danger to their political influence or public order on a wider scale. Examples include news websites, pornographic and gambling websites, as well as opposition group websites. Because social media has become the go-to source for information on protests and the dissemination of critical views, corrupt regimes often attack these sites, saying they disseminate falsehoods and incorrect information.
There are three primary ways through which governments usually restrict internet content:
- DNS filtering — The Domain Name System (DNS) enables browsers to seek the IP address associated with the requested URL. Often, this is managed by your internet service provider, which may be influenced by the government to prevent lookups for banned content from being resolved.
- IP address blocking — Governments offer a list of restricted websites and applications and direct internet service providers to block access to certain sites.
- Deep packet inspection — Using this sophisticated kind of censorship, governments may analyze the metadata of each encrypted bit of internet traffic, glean information about the content being transmitted, and block it based on preset criteria.
Governments and administrators may also use some of these techniques to ban VPNs and other providers of encrypted communications.
Recently, some of the more egregious regimes have dispensed with a list of specific URLs entirely, instead of shutting down the whole internet. In this case, a VPN would be ineffective. This is the simplest in countries with a small number of ISPs to begin with. It becomes more challenging when many exist and defy government pressure.
How are VPNs used to circumvent censorship?
VPNs are effective tools for circumventing censorship since they enable you to bypass the majority of restrictions imposed by governments. If a country has chosen to restrict a particular messaging app, there is nothing that can be done to restore service until that country’s government chooses to lift the ban. By using a VPN, you may circumvent the restrictions and access such applications.
This often results in a government (or, on a lesser scale, a university network administrator) concentrating its efforts on banning VPN providers to enforce its restrictions.
This implies that any VPN service you use to circumvent censorship must meet two critical requirements:
- The app must be widely accessible for download on a variety of devices and, if feasible, in different app stores. Often, smart governments may preemptively block people from downloading these VPNs.
- You should be able to connect to the service even if it is blocked. This implies that you can connect to a VPN even if the government attempts to block access at the source. Certain countries do this by banning IP addresses believed to be used for VPNs. When selecting a VPN, ensure that it has the technology necessary to bypass these increasingly sophisticated security measures.
Why should you use NordVPN to circumvent censorship?
NordVPN is used by users all over the globe to circumvent internet restrictions and censorship. And, as a reliable weapon in times of crisis and turmoil, they have evolved throughout the years to circumvent new forms of censorship.
NordVPN is available for download on a variety of platforms. If one platform becomes unavailable, many alternatives will be accessible. Their applications are available for download via the NordVPN website, the App Store, and the Google Play Store.
Additionally, NordVPN provides limitless surfing and is completely free to use, which eliminates the need to evaluate the app’s advantages and disadvantages when internet access is required. This is a fundamental tenet of their service, as they think that everyone should have access to privacy and freedom.
If you’re searching for a simple method to protect your data and effectively communicate information and ideas without running afoul of restrictions, NordVPN is an excellent choice.
Internet restrictions jeopardize the internet’s basic promise. Information freedom is critical for the exchange of ideas, news, and views. Nonetheless, in certain areas of the world, governments attempting to exert control over their people deny these rights. That’s when NordVPN comes in handy.
Is it possible for the government to ban using a VPN?
Yes. Governments may disable VPNs by banning IP addresses, enforcing deep packet inspections, and censoring DNS traffic. NordVPN defends against these attacks and enables you to connect to their service through OpenVPN in TCP mode and other features.
Is it possible for my internet service provider to detect that I am using a VPN?
Yes. When you use a VPN, your internet service provider will be able to see that your web traffic is being routed via a VPN server. Your internet service provider, on the other hand, does not know which websites you visit since your connection is encrypted.
How do I keep my VPN up to date?
NordVPN is continuously updated, and the most recent versions are accessible through the current version of the app or via your device’s app store.