Anyone who has attempted to access websites like Facebook or YouTube in China has learned that the “Great Firewall of China” isn’t something to be taken lightly. In an effort to censor the internet, China’s government has limited websites that it believes encourage “dissent” or promote values that do not coincide with the nation’s direction. While this may strike some as strange, it’s absolutely true, and many travelers have realized that accessing popular websites while abroad requires the use of remote access channels providing encrypted connections to the internet.
The firewall that China uses to block certain websites is quite effective for anyone attempting to access them within the nation’s borders. However, if that “access point” is located in another location such as Europe or the United States, the firewall cannot block access, granting the user free reign, regardless of their location.
Simply accessing Facebook isn’t the only concern, while vacationing in China. The government has a staunch policy regarding dissent, and has been known to imprison people that it believes are working to push opposing agendas. This can put international travelers at risk. And, while visitors being jailed may not be the norm, it is certainly worth mentioning.
Virtual Private Networks provide a secure and reliable gateway to the internet, regardless of where the user is currently located. Using the above information, let’s assume that a traveler is in China and would like to stay in touch with friends and family via Facebook. As it currently stands, online access within China’s borders does not allow for Facebook use. But, by logging into one’s VPN, the traveler can circumvent the governmental firewall, accessing Facebook, YouTube, and a variety of other blocked sites without restriction. Further, any government tracking will result in the compilation of encrypted data, which is useless.
The use of Virtual Private Networks continues to grow, as concerns about government spying and a crackdown on particular websites by certain governments are inhibiting online activity. From accessing Facebook in China to preventing the viewing and storage of your browsing sessions by a government agency, the need for online secrecy is at an all-time high. By leveraging a secure access channel, online users can ensure that their privacy remains intact, while preventing any government firewalls from blocking specific websites.
So, before your next international trip, be sure to know which websites may not be accessible and what you can do about it!