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Living in the US opens a lot of doors for internet users, especially when it comes to a variety of top streaming services. However, as one door opens, others shut. The US is known for its data monitoring and sharing, and that’s an invasion of residents’ privacy. Not to mention the internet’s restrictions and blackouts. This is why most US internet users now resort to Virtual Private Networks in hopes of maintaining the right to a free unlimited internet experience. But the question is: Are all VPNs reliable enough to use in the United States? The answer is no. Only select few providers are credible enough to be called “the best VPN for USA” and they’re listed in this full review below.
There are several reasons why VPN has become so crucial for a better, and safer, online experience. Here are our top 5 VPN benefits in the USA.
Online privacy is everything and in the United States, it’s always compromised. Users’ online activities are constantly monitored by US government agencies, corporations, and advertisers.
In fact, rarely a week goes by without news about government agencies like the NSA eavesdropping on Americans’ online browsing activities. The same can be said about ISPs and copyright protection groups that are throwing out DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and copyright infringement notice left and right.
That’s just half of the story. Unfortunately, the internet in the United States has become a web of data all ready to be harvested. Edward Snowden revealed that the country was never truthful about the data collection it does.
As a result, the country came up with new legislation that allows US agencies to perform mass data surveillance. The NSA is the least of the US residents’ problems, to be honest. Thanks to The Cloud Act, the Patriot Act, and various other loopholes, even the CIA is monitoring innocent users’ data.
There are a lot of laws that compromise users’ privacy. Back in 2003, The FBI collected records of a hotel, airline, rental car, gift shop, and casino in Las Vegas.
All electronic data of thousands of people was requested due to a very general lead the FBI got. These are innocent people that had nothing to do with what was going on.
That’s where a VPN comes in. With it, users can hide their browsing activities and cloak their IP address, marking them as untraceable online.
A VPN’s encryption makes data unreadable and anonymizes a user’s internet activities. That way, no one can know what they’re up to or trace the data back to the actual user.
VPNs are used by millions of people around the world. However, aside from being a security tool, the software is also an entertainment unblocker. Streaming services all over the globe apply what we call geo-blocking.
It’s a defense mechanism used to secure their content, mainly for copyright reasons. Being based in the US allows streamers to use the service available inside the country. However, it doesn’t allow them to watch channels from abroad, especially BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, ITV, Channel 9, TSN, and more.
These channels examine a user’s IP address to determine his/her location. If it’s not within their area of coverage, the user gets blocked almost instantly. For example, if someone in the US tried to access Channel 9, this error message appears:
“Sorry, 9Now is only available in Australia.”9Now Error
This occurs because a US resident carries an American IP address instead of the required Australian one. With a VPN, the streamer can connect to a server in the channels’ respective country, obtain a valid IP address in the region, and access the services regardless of his/her location.
The issue also applies to US ex-pats living abroad as they’ll lose access to their local channels once they connect to the internet in a foreign country. In other words, living overseas deprives them of accessing ESPN+, NBC, CBS, US Netflix, Hulu, and the likes.
All they have to do is connect to a US server and get a US IP address. As a result, they can watch their favorite American channels live online from anywhere in the world.
America is well known for sports, especially when it comes to football, basketball, and hockey. With services like MLB.tv, NHL.tv, NBA League Pass, as well as NFL GamePass, streaming their favorite matches has never been easier.
Or is it? We mentioned what geo-blocking is, but in the US, that’s not the only problem. The aforementioned channels apply what we call Blackout Restrictions, which is something used to block user access on streaming services if a major cable provider has the rights to a game.
For example, if an MLB match is being broadcasted on television, live streaming on MLB.tv won’t be available until the game is over. Users may have to wait a couple of hours before being able to watch the replay.
For example, if a user is in New York City and cable provider is airing an NBA game, NBA TV will be blacked out throughout the entire gameplay. This is the message they get:
“National Game Blackout. This game is currently unavailable due to national blackout restrictions. If you are a subscriber to NBA TV, this game is currently available to watch on NBA TV. You may also listen live on NBA League Pass Audio. The Game replay will be available to view on NBA League Pass 3 hours following the conclusion of the game.”NBA Blackouts
A VPN offers a reliable workaround that allows sports fans in the USA to bypass blackouts. It’s simple. All they have to do is connect to a server in the United States, but in a city where the match is not being televised by a cable provider.
That way, the online service they’re using will not be blacked out and they can stream their match live no matter where they physically are in the country.
Each time a user downloads a movie, song, or application via uTorrent, his/her IP address is added to a ‘Torrent Swarm’. Anybody who is sharing the same file can see their IP address.
That’s just the half of it. While torrenting isn’t considered to be illegal, downloading unsanctioned copyrighted material is. In a lot of countries, downloading pirated content can get a user in big trouble.
If they’re caught engaging piracy, the might receive a cease and desist letter from their ISP. Moreover, they might even end up paying hundreds of dollars courtesy of lawsuits or letters from the harmed company. Here’s a sample of a letter issued by Cox Communications:
Users always have to take proper precautions before they torrent – especially in the US. By precautions, we definitely mean VPNs. With a Virtual Private Network, users can hide their browsing activities, cloak their IP address, and download torrent files anonymously.
That way, they don’t have to worry about getting sued for download content. However, we’re not encouraging downloading copyright material. We’re just trying to help users maintain their privacy while torrenting as their IP address can aid cybercriminals in pinpointing their real location.
Now that you know more about VPNs, you should keep in mind that you’re giving them all your private data, and everything you do on the internet goes through their networks. That is why you must always subscribe to trustworthy and well-known brands.
Having said that, you can find several free American VPN services when you search online. However, before signing up with these ‘free’ VPN providers, there are some points you have to keep in mind come at a hidden price.
Free VPNs have to make a profit somehow, which is why most of them sell your private data to advertisers or other third parties. You become the merchandise.
Given these VPN services free, they are always overloaded. Your Internet speed will sharply decline as a result.
Customer support is virtually absent.
No proper traffic encryption.
Free VPNs will most probably don’t work. In the end, you’ll find yourself wasting your time.
The verdict is kind of clear, don’t you think? We always say it, and we’ll keep saying it as many times as needed, avoid using free VPNs. They’ll do more harm than good, if good is an option, to begin with.
We’ve been testing VPNs ever since we got introduced to the outstanding internet tool. Some of them were actually pretty weak considering what we expect from such software.
A lot might not know this, but not every VPN can be relied on when it comes to protecting one’s privacy, especially in a country like the United States.
The US is one of the founders of an alliance that goes by the name of the Five Eyes. This intelligence group gas a series of bilateral agreements on surveillance and intelligence-sharing.
In other words, users’ data is not collected and stored in a single country. On the contrary, it’s shared between all the members (the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
A VPN can hide its customers browsing activities, but if it keeps logs, the alliance can harvest anything that relates to its target in terms of data.
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