Those who live in countries where freedom is celebrated and encouraged are not always prepared to deal with censorship. But what if we told you that freedom is just a myth in many places where you have been taught to expect it? The United States? The UK? Censorship happens more often than you think. Using a VPN to defeat censorship is something you might want to consider.
Understanding Censorship in the 2020s
No one can deny that the Internet has had a profound impact on society. It influences many things that we do, and it puts access to almost anything we desire front and center. The concept of an unregulated Internet has been problematic for some countries since it was first introduced.
China is a frequent example when used to discuss censorship in the Internet era. The country has gone so far as to create what is called the Great Firewall of China. This is a blanket term for the censorship that is practiced by the Chinese government. Its stance has been pretty strong. Applications and websites like Google, YouTube, and Facebook once were or remained blocked in China.
The country sees an unregulated Internet as a threat to its ability to control information and media. China wants to make sure that the information which gets out of the country is government approved. It learned hard lesson during the famous student protests in Tiananmen Square. It is alleged that 300 or more people were massacred, depending on whose account you believe.
Pictures and video from the uprising made their way out of the country, and the Chinese government did not like it. Flash forward to the more recent uprisings and protests in Hong Kong and you can see how the government seeks to actively control media. The Internet has been instrumental in changing the speed at which information can be transferred across borders.
You are probably saying that the world expects that from China and some other countries. But are we now beginning to see the advance of censorship in the United States and other Western countries.
Fake News and Media Control in the US
The last two election cycles in the United States have served to bring up important concerns. Does the media unfairly report current events to shape political opinions? Does some information get withheld or swept under the rug? Are social media platforms using forms of censorship to make sure certain voices are silenced?
These are valid questions which we do not seek to answer in a political context. Our only concern is trying to determine the need of a VPN to defeat censorship. We also think it is important to consider if a VPN can be used to evade surveillance. We know for sure that this has been practiced in the United States.
When some websites and blogs that make an effort to get out the truth are silenced with censorship, the time has perhaps come to take an uncomfortable stand. Those who have not previously relied on a VPN for access to an open Internet may find themselves in need of such technology no matter where they happen to live.
Increased Censorship for the Expat and Traveler
In countries where censorship has long been a problem, things have only gotten worse in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that every country has an agenda where the coronavirus is concerned.
Those who are frequent visitors to other countries need and depend upon reliable sources of information for news. Using a VPN may soon be the only way to guarantee access to the information sources that you feel like you can trust.
This is in addition to the standard blocks of media streaming apps and messenger apps that many countries have in place. These are services that become very important to the expat who needs to preserve a link with those at home.
What’s Next for Censorship?
The last few years have also seen the rise of so-called “cancel culture” and the active effort to censor specific businesses and even individuals. Sometimes they are being punished for indiscretions that happened many years ago. Once again, we are not here to debate what is right and what is wrong. We are only observing the trends.
Australia announced a ban on anime not long ago. Many people are up in arms about it. The intent of the ban was to keep young children from seeing inappropriate material, but there are many adults who watch anime that are caught in the crossfire. Thankfully, a VPN can be used to restore access to anime in Australia.
And so it goes in other parts of the world. People regularly find ways to overcome blocks that they think are unfair by using a VPN to defeat censorship. You can do the same.
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