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WHY DO I NEED VPN IN UK – TOP REASONS
In 2019, the UK recorded that 93% of its households use the internet. During the same year, reports state that 45.1 million individuals use the internet daily.
However, despite the massive usage of the World Wide Web, it still has its limitations, which forces UK residents to resort to Virtual Private Networks.
There are a lot of reasons to use a VPN in the country and we’ve stated a couple of them below so that our readers can know what to expect while they’re browsing the web there.
MASS SURVEILLANCE AND DATA SHARING
The United Kingdom is well-known to be one of the most surveillance-heavy countries across the globe. It constantly monitoring what internet users within its regions are doing and snoops on their browsing activities.
With the Investigatory Powers Act, the monitoring process is only getting worse. Now, another this to mention is that the UK is a key member of the NSA-led Five Eyes spying alliance.
Users don’t just have to worry about data collection. We must note that if any of these countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) gains access to users’ data online, rest assured that it can then be shared with other countries.
The Alliance later expanded, adding countries to form what we call now the Fourteen Eyes. Also, before choosing a VPN, users should make sure that it’s not based in one of those countries, or at least check if it offers a strict no-logging policy.
SNOOPER’S CHARTER & BREXIT
The UK government has recently passed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. Also known as Snooper’s Charter, the new law grants government agencies the right to snoop on users’ online activities.
This allows UK data to be transferred, uninterrupted, into the EU, which includes users’ browsing history, downloads, as well as what they’re watching online.
The information mentioned above can paint a detailed picture of whoever the government is monitoring. It gives away data about who the user is talking to, as well as other information such as political views, religious beliefs, and daily habits.
There have been many concerns about the newly applied Act, as privacy activists claim that it legalized a frighteningly far-reaching state surveillance apparatus.
Moreover, Liberty, the human rights advocacy group states that Snooper’s Charter is probably the “most intrusive mass surveillance regime ever introduced in a democracy.”
If that’s not enough, there are concerns about the UK’s surveillance post-Brexit. The United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020 and there have been reports that surveillance will get worse.
Britain is on its own now, but if it wants to continue to do business with the EU, it would still require many surveillance and privacy-related changes, which should comply with EU law.
Living in a country with such an Act means that users’ privacy is always compromised. With a VPN, users’ internet activities are always concealed the moment they hit the connect button.
It encrypts their data and anonymizes their browsing activities, making them totally unidentifiable while surfing the internet.
Streaming online is one of the most common practices among every single internet user. We’re talking about accessing major channels like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ITV, and more.
As popular as they are around the world, it’s sad to say that they are only available in specific regions, where no one abroad can get a hold of them. These services apply what we call geo-blocking, a mechanism used to restrict user access based on his/her location.
A channel looks up the users’ IP addresses to determine their whereabouts. Once it figures out where they reside and it’s not within its area of coverage, the user gets blocked instantly.
For example, Hulu and the US version of Netflix have always been in demand outside the US. But unfortunately, neither Hulu nor the US Netflix is available abroad. If users in the UK try to access Hulu in their region, they’ll get blocked, and the following error message appears:
Hulu Error Message
The same goes for UK ex-pats living abroad as they too can’t access their local channels back home. Without a UK IP address, the likes of ITV, BBC iPlayer, Channel 5, and Sky Go will also block their access. Here’s a sample error of what ITV will give:
ITV Hub Error new
With a Virtual Private Network, users can get around such blocking mechanisms with ease. All they have to do is connect to a server in the channel’s respective country and they’ll obtain the required local IP address.
For example, if UK residents want to access Hulu, they have to connect to a US server. This connection allows them to obtain a US IP address and direct access to Hulu and other US streaming services despite physically being in the UK.
Torrenting opens a lot of possible routes to get files that are not available elsewhere. We’re talking about music albums, TV shows, movies, e-books, and even games.
However, the act of File-Sharing is deemed illegal in a lot of countries, with the UK being one of them. File-Sharing that violates copyright laws is met with severe consequences.
First, the government might send notices and legal statements to whoever is sharing a file. For example, media companies in the UK urge the government to force internet service providers (ISPs) to identify online users suspected of file sharing and to take action against them.
BPI (British Phonographic Industry) is one of those institutions and now, the five main ISPs (BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, EE) in the country are responsible for notifying users if they ever share any of the company’s files.
Music industries aren’t the only ones affected by torrenting. In fact, gaming giants such as Atari, Codemasters, TopWare Interactive, Reality Pump, and Techland also sent notices to over 25,000 UK Internet users for breaching their copyrights.
The identified users were caught downloading or sharing games on file-sharing websites. The companies demanded a £300 payment if the targets wish to settle the matter out of court. Any failure in payment would result in legal actions.
Aside from that, torrenting compromises whoever is sharing a file. The IP address of the user is shown to anyone sharing the same file or any cybercriminal monitoring their activities.
Downloading harmless files is not illegal, but it is privacy-compromising. But to avoid this whole predicament, users opt for VPN providers. They hide their IP addresses and allow them to download torrents anonymously, making them completely untrackable online.
BANNED SITES IN THE UK
The UK hosts a lot of big names when it comes to the streaming industry. Such websites show how much the country offers on the internet. However, as it provides some, it surely restricted access to others.
Browsing some websites might be difficult in the United Kingdom as the big 5 ISPs have been blocking dozens of them for quite some time now. According to Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, BT Group, EE, Sky Broadband, Talk Talk, and Virgin Media have to use various methods to blocks websites that violate copyright and trademark infringement.
There’s a long list of names on the UK’s banned list. Whenever a user attempts to visit any of those websites while residing in the UK, he/she will be forwarded to www.ukispcourtorders.co.uk, where all the website names are provided.
Users can manually visit the page and check what websites they can’t access in the UK. However, we’ll be mentioning a couple of them here so that they have a quick idea about what to expect:
The Pirate Bay
As seen in the list above, the websites represent pages that allow users to download torrents, music, or watch movies/shows for free. This violates copyright laws, which is why the UK blocked all of them.
We don’t encourage such actions, but when it’s harmless, it does not violate any law, especially when it comes to downloading torrents. There have been times where countries blocked several websites (By Mistake) while banning others.
So, with a VPN, users can shift their online location and appear to be accessing the web from a whole different country. They just have to pick a server in a region where P2P is allowed. Once they get the respective IP address, they can do so freely while still physically residing in the UK.
BEST VPN FOR THE UK
Picking the best VPN is a hard task, to be honest. There are a lot of options out there, but not all of them are suitable to use in the country. We already mentioned that the UK is part of the Five Eyes alliance, which allows authorities in the region to demand user information from VPN providers and they’ll have to comply.
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