Geo-Restricted content can be defined as the content restricted to a particular region’s users based on their geographical location. Checking a user’s IP address, end-to-end delay of a network to determine physical location, checking accounts are some of the techniques adopted to carry out geo-restriction in a specific region. Such methods then determine whether a user may be allowed access to certain content or not.
Like many other Canadians, you can watch movies and TV shows and listen to music online, using an intelligent gadget. But when you want some specific content or service, and it is not available because of geo-blocking, it can be very frustrating. And it’s not something the CRTC (Canadian Radio-TV & Telecommunication) controls.
For example, in Canada, a broadcaster pays a fee to air a program, and the website where you are watching or listening to the content hasn’t bought those same rights, then you won’t be able to access the content on that site. If you are in Canada and the site hasn’t bought Canadian rights, then the content may be geo-blocked in your vicinity.
Luckily, VPNs are 100% legal, and the Canadians showed a whopping 206% increase in usage of VPNs during COVID-19. This shows how any geo-restrictions failed to bar the population from using the internet just the way they wanted to. You can get all the details of the best VPNs to use in Canada that can help you in the internet surfing, freely and securely.
Relief Road To Geo-Restriction – “VPN”
Mainly, there are three ways to detour around geo-restricted content:
- Virtual Private Network
- Proxy Server
- Smart DNS
Here, we discuss only the VPNs.
The best way to tackle through Geo-Restriction is a VPN. It is the most effective and safe way to bypass geo-restriction. There are many choices to select from and many discounts offered. A VPN will spoof your location and allow you access to enjoy your favorite TV shows from Netflix.
The VPN hides your actual location, connects you to a server in another country, hides your IP address, and Bypass IP throttling. A VPN then helps you by encrypting your traffic so that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see what you are doing. With the right VPN, a user will access many sites & services from anywhere in the world. Some services include:
- TV streaming sites
- Sports streaming sites
- Social Media Networks
- Gambling & Gaming (See more on Cybersecurity for Gamers)
- Dating websites
- News Websites
- Privacy Websites
The global COVID-19 outbreak has caused a sharp rise in the usage of VPNs. With more people staying at home, the use of the internet and that of VPNs, in turn, has increased. According to one VPN, 50000 weekly users were put through a survey for two weeks. Italy had 24747 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1809 deaths, VPN usage increased 112% in those two weeks. Iran had 14000 cases & a 38% rise in VPN usage during the survey period.
Many other countries also saw a rise in VPN usage. USA had 3802 confirmed COVID-19 cases while VPN usage increased to 53%. Other countries that have imposed lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus have also seen their rates increase. VPN usage in Spain increased to 36% while it increased upto 29% in Germany & 21% in France.
VPNs’ increased usage is due to an increase in people staying at home due to lockdowns and quarantines. In many countries dealing with a severe pandemic, schools and malls are closed, large public gatherings are banned, and employees work remotely. Resultantly, people spend more time than usual on the internet, which has seen people avail VPNs to access geo-blocked streaming websites and services. Employees working from home also use VPNs to ensure their files are completely protected and safe from hackers.
The Imminent Risk
Internet Content regulation has recently become a hot public debate as both governments and users are concerned about it. A recent survey by Georgia Tech showed that censorship is the number one concern of users.
The European Union paper on “Illegal and harmful content on the Internet” probably best sums up the fears:
- national security (illegal drug production & terrorist activities);
- protection of minors (abusive forms of marketing, violence & pornography);
- protection of human dignity (racial hatred/discrimination);
- economic security (fraudulent activities, instructions on pirating credit cards);
- information security (malicious hacking);
- protection of privacy (unauthorized communication of personal data, electronic harassment);
- protection of reputation (libel, unlawful comparative advertising);
- intellectual-property (unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works, software, or music)
There are commonalities in approaches but no single model for Internet regulation. Each country appears to have its specific approach to rules. The majority of the countries are placing Internet regulations by the broadcast regime. Though it does not necessarily mean that they are using the broadcasting paradigm of regulation. The broadcasting regime may be the most suitable because the majority of these countries treat e-mail generally as a privileged form of communication.
Using VPNs may get you through everywhere and anywhere on the internet providing access to your favorite websites and service, but the risk involved with using a VPN cannot be neglected. The reasons a certain kind of content is geo-filtered need to be studied in detail by the user to understand better the risks involved.
A major conclusion drawn from this is that there will not be a singular universal model for regulating the internet. But this does not depict that the regulatory wheel must be reinvented each time. Many countries afford enough models to follow. The most sensible approach to implement internet content regulation is based on the culture of every nation.
In the truest sense, this is what it means to be an international community. It requires that the world learn to step back, check the lenses they are using, and accommodate the differences. Better communication and coordination will help all of the world struggles for an effective way out to Internet content regulation. Perhaps, the free-flowing and anarchistic Internet culture will eventually evolve to include these pockets of differences.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.