There are a number of countries that block access to various websites. A few notables include Skype and various social media sites and blocking them is part of their attempts to control the population and or prevent them from gaining new insights or to communicate and organise groups that may not match the ideals of those governments.
While the list of countries acting in this manner is relatively low, the list includes Turkey, North Korea, China and the United Arab Emirates. By using a VPN, it lets you gain access by connecting to their servers and accessing websites, social media outlets and other websites blocked. It also will allow you access Skype and other communication services.
- North Korea
This will not a be a surprise to most people as it is common knowledge that the North Korean government takes extensive measures to control the distribution of content to its people and prevent oppression. To date, the North Korean government has approved only a few thousand websites, but considering the majority of the country lives in poverty, most do not have access to the internet. Using a VPN in North Korea is banned and subject to criminal prosecution.
Turkey is known for blocking websites, especially during times of upheaval or political unrest. Internet users in the country often find sites relating to social media, Skype and other communication services blocked. They have recently begun to force ISP’s to block access to VPN services or any other tools that are being used to by-pass blocks that are in place.
Iran is another oppressed country that highly sensors its people, and is in fact, one of the worse in the world for censorship. Iranian officials are known for their fear of allowing its people to become educated and question the oppression that permeates the country. In an effort to combat VPN’s and other tools used to by-pass blocked website access, the country launched their own intranet called the National Information Network, which is seen as a step towards blocking external resources and information not approved by the Iranian government.
China is another of the countries that regularity takes steps to prevent access to websites it deems harmful to their society or those that publish content that is contrary to the beliefs of the Chinese government. The recent tightening of restrictions towards VPN’s has seen most VPN’s in the country no longer working. Violators in China can face fines or find their mobile and home internet services cut off.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The United Arab Emirates recently implemented a law that makes VPN’s illegal. The government claims the purpose of the law is to punish those that “misuse” VPN access and is not directed at the average VPN user. However, with the strict punishments that are seen in the UAE, the new law will further repress the people out of fear of repercussions alone.