Inflection point: Protect your Internet freedom
We’ve arrived at an inflection point for Internet freedom. Political polarization, disinformation, and AI deep fakes threaten access to accurate information worldwide. The rise of generative AI, coupled with a growing mistrust in what we see and hear online, only compounds these fears.
Trusted knowledge is essential for citizens to make informed choices in changing times. Yet censorship and state propaganda are rising, aiming to control narratives and restrict free speech. The need to safeguard truth and resist manipulation has never been more urgent.
In this turbulent era, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become portals for accessing uncensored information. By encrypting traffic and bypassing location-based geo-blockers, VPNs allow unfiltered access to news, international opinions, and verified facts.
For those of you dedicated to knowledge, VPNs are a bridge over troubled waters, connecting us to the truth when we need it most.
The cloud of unknowing is growing darker
Censorship and disinformation pose growing threats to your Internet freedom, which is declining globally. Oppressive regimes are passing laws to silence dissent, manipulate narratives, and control the information citizens can access.
In September 2023, Russia passed a law that requires all Internet service providers to install deep packet inspection (DPI) systems. DPI systems allow the government to monitor and block Internet traffic.
The law has been criticized by privacy advocates, who argue that DPI systems can track users’ online activity and censor content without their knowledge.
In October 2023, the Ugandan government shut down the Internet during presidential elections, arguing that the move was necessary to prevent the spread of violence.
The Internet shutdown lasted for several days, making it difficult for Ugandans to access information about the election. It also made it difficult for journalists to report on the election and for human rights groups to monitor the situation.
Globally, state-sponsored disinformation campaigns sow confusion, fear, and division. Russia notoriously uses disinformation to justify military aggression and undermine pro-democracy movements in neighboring countries.
How a VPN can enable Internet freedom
VPNs can help you access information and opinions from other countries by encrypting your traffic and routing it through a remote server, bypassing location-based blocks. By hiding your IP address, you can access content freely from other countries, especially if you use “no-logs” software that doesn’t track your digital footprint.
Without a VPN, access to verifiable news and information will depend on where you live. In 2022, during the country’s general election, the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter. They also prohibited users from accessing Wikipedia, which they accused of spreading “disinformation” about the Turkish military. In response, citizens used VPNs to bypass government-sanctioned blocks and access unfiltered content.
Even in Western democracies, streaming platforms and news websites are geo-blocked for monetary reasons. For example, Netflix has entertainment content that you cannot watch if you live outside of the United States. With VPN software, you can connect to a New York or Californian server and stream your favorite show, regardless of whether you’re in the US or traveling on vacation.
Encrypting your Internet traffic also makes it trickier for hackers to access your data. If you use public Wi-Fi regularly, it’s advisable to switch on your VPN, especially in coffee shops or transport hubs, as they are vulnerable to hackers installing “evil twin” networks that steal your passwords and banking details.
Exploring VPN solutions for global citizens
Among the array of VPNs available, FastVPN by Namecheap is an attractive option for freedom seekers due to its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing. While many VPNs offer military-grade encryption, users will need a no-logs policy to browse privately.
If you have access to 1000+ secure servers in popular locations such as the US, UK, Canada, and Germany, you can also bypass geo-restrictions and access content from anywhere.
Essential security features for VPN users
Leading VPNs, including FastVPN, support security protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, offering premium encryption with AES-256 that makes it practically unbreakable, so you don’t need to worry about criminals on public Wi-Fi.
Other security features include:
- Kill Switch – If your Wi-Fi connection drops, FastVPN will block all Internet traffic to ensure your data isn’t adversely affected.
- OpenVPN Scramble – This feature hides OpenVPN traffic from your device, enabling you to bypass advanced VPN geo-blocks.
- DNS leak protection – DNS (Domain Name Systems) reveals sensitive information about the websites and apps you visit. By using FastVPN, you can prevent your browsing habits from being leaked.
Accessing verifiable facts with a VPN
With oppressive governments preventing citizens from accessing verifiable information, you cannot take your Internet freedom lightly. Freedom can die in the darkness, not with a bang or a whimper but with a shrug.
Many people now ask whether we can believe anything we see or read on social media or cable channels, given that AI technology can fake stories so effectively.
While VPNs are not a panacea to misinformation and AI fakery, they are helpful tools in the face of political repression. So, by encrypting your Internet traffic and routing it through a remote server, you can access fact-checked news without third parties watching.
A VPN is a low-cost investment to protect your Internet freedom, with FastVPN offering plans for less than a dollar a month.