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What Is Internet Censorship And How To Avoid It In 2020?


No matter which part of the world you live in, rampant internet censorship laws mean you are bound to come across blocked sites and an internet that remains restricted. Apart from China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran, where censorship is at an all-time high, governments in democratic countries often tend to resort to curbing internet freedoms as a response to public criticism.

If you live somewhere where Internet censorship is common and internet bans take place frequently, you can take advantage of the following solutions to bypass any and all restrictions in 2020.

What are the significant reasons behind sites getting blocked through internet censorship?

Here are three main reasons why you often encounter blocked sites:

1- Geo-Blocking

Many services use geo-blocking technology to restrict access to their content in certain regions due to copyright-related issues. Usually, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu do this, but it can also apply to YouTube videos, news articles, and other online services.

2- Government Internet Censorship

Governments tend to block access to certain content online as per their political agenda’s. For instance, the Twitter prevent in China, Turkey’s social media restrictions in the wake of the 2016 coup and Sri Lanka’s ban on Facebook after the April 2019 attacks can all be touted as examples of such government censorship.

3- Corporate Blocking

More often than not, employees end up suffering due to the blockage of sites within office premises. It includes social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and other fun apps that serve as potential distractions.

Bypassing Restrictions and Internet Censorship

Here are some of the most effective ways you can beat any kind of restrictions and bypass internet restrictions, whichever part of the world u live in:

1- Using a VPN Service

Using a reliable VPN service is easily the best and most popular way of accessing blocked internet sites. A VPN provides you with a different IP address than the one you currently own, changing your location as a result. Since restrictions are limited to a particular place, changing your region will make any restrictions go away.

VPN services are incredibly easy to use and offer incredible accessibility. All you need to do is, download the app on your device, enter your credentials and select the server location of your choice. Ivacy VPN is one of the oldest players in the market and offers the auto-connect option, which means it selects the best servers in the world once you chose to join.

2- Using a Smart DNS

DNS services offer an advantage over VPNs since they enable you to maintain relatively faster internet speeds. In contrast to VPNs that need to route the traffic through different networks, DNS only needs to reroute information about your location, resulting in a faster connection.

However, you shouldn’t opt for DNS services because they don’t offer any of the privacy-related features as VPNs. DNS does not encrypt your traffic or changes your IP address. They also do not provide 256 – bit encryption which is considered to be the best. Therefore, if you want to save yourself from authorities clamping down upon those accessing banned services or sites, DNS services are not right for you.

3- Using a Free Proxy

If you need one-time access to any particular website, using a free proxy is the way to go. It successfully hides your IP address from the ISPs and anyone else who could be viewing your location. However, it does not encrypt any of your traffic. Once again, this major drawback means that proxies aren’t as safe and secure as VPNs can be. You can use proxies to overcome blocks at workplaces and schools but not anonymous browsing.

Global Internet Censorship

The United States’ First Amendment is a one-of-a-kind law that bars the passage of any legislation that might limit freedom of speech, the practice of one’s faith and belief’s etc. However, not all countries have such protection for their citizens. Apart from the authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia and China, where any freedom of expression is strictly forbidden, there are plenty of democratic states too that restrict speech citing various reasons. For instance, obscenity, defamation, hatred/violence and public disturbance are all causes for enforcing such censorship worldwide.

Internet Censorship around the world in 2020

Here we highlight the most common censorship tools and strategies being used in 2020:

Self-censorship amidst government/legal pressures

Before the Internet increased and became standard across the world, governments would either intimidate newspaper publications or threaten individuals to self-censor. Governments also forced their media into submitting to the government demands for favorable coverage at least until the advent of social media. As opposed to popular opinion, this kind of censorship is prevalent in many liberal democracies, often going beyond the Internet or media and affecting academia, civil society, journalists and the overall population as a whole.

Redirection of DNS

Traditionally, the redirection of the DNS records has always been one of the most common methods to censor websites and services. Doing so is the same as removing a particular business from phone book directories or Google maps, although people could still reach out to it directly. In such a scenario, you may have to rely on foreign DNS providers instead of local ones who would be complying with the censor request.

IP blockage

Another primary strategy is to block and reject any requests and connections associated with IP addresses linked to a particular site. It can use for both web, mail, and any other internet servers.

Deep packet inspection

Deep packet inspection is the process of analyzing all bits and pieces of data incoming and outgoing restricted networks. It is a highly advanced method locating, identifying, classifying, and rerouting any packets containing specific data codes.

Internet Censorship in the Americas

The Americas witnessed relatively fewer restrictions and censorship apart from a few authoritarian regimes that use strictest filtering and censoring.

Internet Censorship in Europe and Central Asia

The Internet in Central Asian countries and Europe remains relatively free and open. However, in some states, especially those from the former Soviet Union, people’s expression is limited by the government.

Internet Censorship in the Middle East and South Asia

The Middle East has always been known for aggressive censorship tactics and filtering for any content that it sees as indecent or against its values, while also targeting social media for any speech made against the ruling regime. In the wake of the Arab Spring, multiple chat apps were targeted for their role in amplifying social unrest and protests against the governments.

Iran, in particular, was one of the major Middle Eastern countries to enforce internet shutdowns because of protests against the government.

Internet Censorship in Asia

Asia’s multiple authoritarian governments have always held a deep-rooted problem with the Internet, aggressively clamping down on internet freedom of their citizens and restricting their access. However, China leads this censorship not just in Asia but the entire world with the  China Great Firewall.

China has the most effective and far-reaching censorship of the Internet in place of all countries in the world. Rather than slowing down as was predicted by experts, the Chinese internet censorship model of the firewall has only expanded and China has even exported it to other countries. China censors blogs, social media, all US search engines, and combats any attempts to bypass the firewall including VPNs. A good number of states are pushing for digital authoritarianism along the lines of the China model of surveillance systems and censorship.

How is a VPN your best bet to evade oppressive & Authoritarian regimes online?

Do you live in a country where protests against the government are rampant, people get arrested for their political beliefs or criticism of the regime on social media? Do you expect such censorship to affect you in the future in the country where you live? It can get challenging when the internet – your only source of communication and news is being censored. However, a VPN can prove to be the most effective tool in such a situation for you.

A VPN also is known as Virtual Private Network, encrypts the internet traffic and changes the IP address enabling the users to communicate privately and change the location. You can access any blocked sites, social media or apps even during a total media blackout in this way. A VPN achieves this by hiding the users’ IP address and making their identity unknown to any third parties including ISPs (Internet Service Providers), copyright watchdogs, and government agencies.

Final Thoughts

Online freedom has increasingly been on the decline everywhere around the world, including Egypt, China, Iran, North Korea, and multiple other countries where just knowing about the current situation has become an enormous challenge. All of the TV and print press are state-run and only news approved by the government is aired. Even democratic countries such as the USA have passed or are about to pass controversial laws to restrict internet freedoms. Therefore, a VPN service can provide just the extra layer of security needed in such an environment to escape any government spying present and stay anonymous online.

Tags : Internet Censorship

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