A VPN can be useful in unblocking political and news websites that are restricted in some countries.
Many governments, especially those in Asia, take measures to filter news outlets and control the information which can be accessed via the Internet. This is done in an effort to prevent criticism of the ruling families or to otherwise quell disturbances. It is a sobering thought to consider that the news you are getting might be sterilized by government censorship.
Why do countries filter news?
The dissemination of political opinion is the primary reason certain countries choose to filter news content online. China, Saudi Arabia, and many nations in the Arab region do not tolerate news reports which reflect unfavorably on their political status.
Bloggers in particular are a favorite target of these countries. For example, China has blocked numerous news and political blogs and has even jailed journalists and bloggers for posting what they consider to be harmful content. The end result is that those in the country see what they government wants them to see. This can be dangerous, especially for expatriates who need to know what is happening in their own country.
The danger of news filtering
Imagine that you are a United States resident living and working in Egypt. The recent turmoil in this African nation prompted the US Government to issue a directive for all US citizens to leave Egypt and return home. This is the kind of news you need to know when visiting foreign soil, but as soon as the trouble began the Egyptian government began to selectively monitor and control which information gets through. If you have no way of getting unrestricted news then you might not receive these important warnings.
Another example is the Iraqi conflict during the 1990’s. You might recall that news outlets within Iraq were reporting that the Iraqi army was winning the battle, but the truth reported by news agencies outside of Iraq is that Saddam Hussein’s forces were losing badly. As you can see, access to accurate news can be a matter of personal safety.
Consider also that some nations block Skype, Viber, and other communications services which allow foreign visitors to remain in contact with their families. This means that your family cannot even pass along the warnings you may not have heard or read about.
Many regions of the world are in a constant state of political turmoil. When Chinese students protested the Chinese government in Tiananmen Square in 1989, a large portion of the country did not even know the uprising was occurring due to news filtering by the state. While as many as 1000 students were being killed in Tiananmen Square, much of China was unaware until the situation had been controlled by the government. Some foreign reporters managed to smuggle out footage of the protests, but this lack of knowledge could have quickly become a security risk for foreigners unsympathetic to the Communist regime.
If you are travelling or working in a foreign country such as China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, North Korea, or any other nation where political news is filtered, there is a real danger that you may not learn of dangerous political crises until it is too late.
Getting unfiltered news with a VPN
You might think you can just hop down to the local Internet Café and keep up with what is going on around you, but the fact is that public networks in many countries are subjected to heavy filtering and censorship. The only way to avoid this is through the use of a VPN account like the one we offer. A VPN account can restore your uncensored access to the Internet.
Internet censorship and news filtering is primarily accomplished via blocking based on IP address. In other words, when your IP address identifies that you are within a certain location the blocks applicable to that location go into effect. It is possible, through the use of a VPN, to change your IP address to reflect that you accessing the Internet from a server within your own country where the services are not blocked.
For example, if you use Skype and wish to communicate with your family this way, a VPN is very successful in unblocking this service in countries that restrict it such as Oman & Belize. Even when you cannot get accurate news online, your family at home can keep you informed if you maintain a way to contact them. To use the example we gave before, unrestricted access to Skype would have allowed your family to tell you that the US directed all of its citizens to leave Egypt immediately prior to the latest turmoil.
A VPN will also allow you to retain uncensored access to your favorite news blogs, and even your local television programming while you are travelling abroad.
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