Anyone who has traveled extensively has stories of woeful international internet access. After graduating from college, a ton of my pals flocked to high-paying jobs in Asia (outsourcing and all that jazz) and I went through a slow learning process about freedom of speech issues in other countries. “I can’t watch your videos or look at your pictures,” they’d say. “YouTube and Facebook are blocked in China.”
“You can’t….WHAT?” It was almost like they were speaking Chinese. The concept of limited internet is so strange to me. I haven’t had anyone control what I watch or read since I was in middle school.
It doesn’t end there. Saudi Arabia’s strict content filtering blocks popular chat apps such as Viber, Skype and WhatsApp. People in Japan can’t access Hulu or Pandora. Copyright issues restrict 60% of YouTube’s top music videos in Germany’s complicated web of international internet access. I had reporter friends in Egypt during the revolution who had to undergo “kidnapping training” and be careful about what they wrote on the web lest they be arrested.
Holy censorship, Batman.
The Egypt fiasco has at least smoothed out a little, but I’ve had acquaintances from Iran to Vietnam and even Costa Rica raise questions about unblocking international internet access. Fortunately, there is a viable solution. Censorship bugs me, so I’ve teamed up with our sponsor Hotspot Shield to share the solution I use when I travel abroad.
You can bypass international internet access restrictions with a Virtual Private Network that lets you unblock any website, anywhere in the world. The VPN encrypts your network and shields your personal data, masking your IP address and letting you get around those country-wide restrictions. Voila. International internet access for everyone.