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Porn ban drives an unprecedented spike in VPN usage

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As people look for ways to access their favorite services and protect their online rights, a pornography ban that has taken effect in Thailand is driving a huge increase in VPN use.

VPN installations in the country increased by 644 percent, according to Atlas VPN data, following confirmation that 191 adult websites would no longer be open to people, including the popular Pornhub platform.

The privacy service was not especially common in Thailand before the ban, despite the meteoric growth of the VPN industry in recent years, with just 1.17 percent of the population downloading a VPN in the first half of 2020.

Early signs, however, indicate that the new policy may drive unprecedented adoption in the territory.

Censorship on the internet

In Thailand, web censorship is not unusual, but has generally revolved around quashing information that is critical of the state. However, the new change heralds a tougher stance towards some consumer services as well.

An online backlash that saw hashtags # SavePornhub and # HornyPower trend on Twitter sparked confirmation that the nation will crack down on pornography and gambling websites, all of which are illegal under its cybercrime laws.

The demonstrations have spilled out into the streets of Bangkok, where aggrieved people kept the same slogans aloft on placards.

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However, Thailand is not the only country where pornography is banned; the same applies to both India and China, with a total population of more than 2.6 billion people.

VPNs are being used in all three countries to overcome blocks on pornography and other forms of content prohibited by their respective regimes.

VPNs route traffic through servers running in countries where adult websites are fully legal, enabling the customer to both access the service and hide their operation from their Internet service provider ( ISP).

However, it becomes even more necessary in regions that limit access to such internet material to use a VPN service that does not collect activity logs (e.g. accessed websites, link timestamps, use of bandwidth etc.) that may be incriminating if authorities later seize them.

While many free VPNs say that logs are not obtained, these promises are sometimes disingenuous. For this reason, a service whose privacy policy has been audited by a reputable third party, such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, should be preferred by users who want to ensure their browsing habits remain confidential.

About Kirigaya Kazuto

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Kazuto Kirigaya, born as Kazuto Narusaka, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara.

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