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Infoporn: how VPN use varies by country

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Source: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/vpn-use-worldwide-privacy-censorship

On the internet, two-fifths of Indonesians are invisible. More than a third of Vietnamese and Saudi Arabians don't show up either.

Take a look at web analytics for Sweden, however, and you're led to conclude its population is bolstered by large numbers of Netflix -loving ghosts.

Our picture of the web, explains Jason Mander, head of trends at market-research firm GlobalWebIndex, is being distorted by the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), which disguise a user's location. "People consider VPNs to be a niche tool, but they are surprisingly widespread," he says. "As many as one in four people use them."


Every year GlobalWebIndex surveys around 200,000 internet users in 34 countries on a range of digital behaviours including, since 2013, VPN usage. "We track ten motivations," explains Mander. "In some countries, China, Indonesia and Thailand being prime examples, people use VPNs to overcome governmental restrictions on sites like Facebook and Twitter. In western Europe, privacy is the biggest factor. But by far the most popular one globally is the need to access [geographically blocked] entertainment content."

This explains the popularity of VPNs in Asia and Latin America, where content suppliers are least developed. "Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer see VPN users as a threat," says Mander. "But our research shows that VPN users are more likely to pay for digital content - it's a question of access."

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