Last Updated on 2021/02/17
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The government of China has recently announced the adoption of a new national security law that brought the citizens’ privacy to question.
China has always been known for restrictive laws and strict rules tied to internet and media use. The internet users in this country have not been able to use the internet freely for years. Yet the most recent law caused protests in Hong Kong and raised even more concerns over online surveillance and restrictions.
The Growing Number of VPN Users in China
As a response to the recent government’s activities, the citizens of China turned to VPN services for protection. The new law banned any seditious activities and external interference in Hong Kong. It brings about new restrictions and stricter internet surveillance. This decision caused panic among internet users who were already struggling to protect themselves online.As reported by NordVPN, the number of inquiries about their services was 120 times larger the day this law announcement was released. The number of VPN users surged immediately, as people became too concerned over their privacy online. Many citizens have already been using virtual private network services to bypass the Great Firewall . But even those who tried to comply with the previous internet laws have now lost their patience. NordVPN has reported the biggest growth in the number of VPN users they have ever experienced in one region. And it happened only a few hours after the law became public. It is not the first time that VPN services experienced a sudden spike after a political event. The same thing happened back in 2016 when the UK expanded its electronic surveillance. Also, in 2018when the US repealed net neutrality rules. But the numbers were far larger this time. The majority of Hong Kong citizens took action right away in response to the government’s decision to increase online surveillance. Having your every move tracked and followed online may sound like a violation of fundamental human rights. So investing in a reliable virtual private network service seemed like an excellent idea.
How Do VPNs Help?
A virtual private network hides the user’s real IP address and replaces it with the address of the VPN server. (If you’re thinking, “ what is my IP address ” you can quickly check it using various free online tools.) All traffic going to and from the user’s device is then routed through an encrypted tunnel. It keeps it hidden from any third party, including hackers, governments, and internet service providers. “A VPN provides privacy and security online and in such cases is the only tool that helps to avoid surveillance and access the internet without restrictions,” said a NordVPN spokeswoman. The good thing about VPNs is that they don’t require any technical knowledge. All you have to do is select a server, and the software will carry out the rest for you.
The Inevitable Privacy
Concerns At this point, there is no telling what the government’s next move is going to be. The citizens’ concerns over online privacy are inevitable since they will be tracked more than ever. Besides bans on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, now even the use of some words can trigger warnings. Internet users are warning others and advising each other to use VPNs on public Reddit forums. “Everyone on the internet must take measures to protect themselves. Please install VPN now,” one user wrote on the LIHKG Reddit forum . Besides using virtual private networks, Chinese citizens turn to the Telegram messaging app. It’s one of the safest and most private messaging apps out there. Telegram has a secret chat option that encrypts all messages. There are many more privacy tools available. And most of them, like VPNs, rely on encryption. Be it internet traffic, messages, emails, or files, encryption is one of the best ways to protect one’s online privacy. It is understandable why users would turn to such measures to protect their privacy. It may seem like internet restriction laws are getting out of hand. Overall, the recent announcement has caused protests and unrest among the citizens who hoped to have this law overturned. It looks like the only option left is to use privacy tools to avoid online surveillance and tracking when surfing the web.
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