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The Australian government, late to the party as always, has ordered ISPs to block traffic from torrent download sites.

It’s very interesting timing in my view. Right now torrent sites are probably not as popular as they once were, thanks to services like Stan and Presto taking off. Why take a chance of getting prosecuted for copyright infringement when for about 10-15 dollars a month you have access to a wide variety of streaming movies?

The same when it comes to music. You have services like Pandora and Spotify which are either free or you can purchase the premium service to have more control over what you listen to.

So torrent sites getting blocked now is no longer a big deal. But it does raise the question, what do you do if you are a suspicious, conspiracy theory type who doesn’t like the government snooping on everything they do on the internet?

Well, as usual, when governments legislate, it’s remarkably simple to just sidestep what they have legislated for. In this case it is a trivial matter for anyone, no matter what their level of computer expertise to set up a VPN connection. There are many service being offered now, some free. I will add the links to them at at the bottom of the article.

But first, I would like to explain what a VPN is and why is sidesteps any blocking that governments insist ISPs in Australia put in place.

When you use a VPN service you are directly connected to the service from your desktop via an encrypted connection. You still are connected to the internet via your ISP, but the VPN creates a tunnel directly through your ISP connection through to the VPN server at the other end.

As a user your requests go the the VPN server, are fetched by the VPN server and sent back down the tunnel to you. Any software at the ISP end of things sees nothing other than an encrypted connection; it can’t see what the actual traffic is. So voila! Government measure neatly sidetracked.

I personally use cyber ghost. It’s a freemium service; free with some limitations or you can upgrade and pay a small fee for extra features. I have found that the free service is entirely adequate for my needs.

The reason (other than price) that I recommend this service is that it is so easy to set up. You download, you install, you connect. It’s as simple as that. There is no crazy stuff like setting IPSec parameters or other similar stuff that simply make non technical people’s eyes glaze over.

One of the funny things about this (but a clear demonstration that you are completely invisible) is that you get Google ads in German or Dutch or where ever else you connect to, because the Google algorithm takes your location as the location of the VPN server.

By writing this, I’m not endorsing the use of torrent sites. I’m just noting how easy it is to sidestep rules about the internet.

Look here for a list of free vpn services.

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Shaun

A computer specialist who has had a long and varied career in IT, starting with the days of Novell, progressing through Microsoft on the way to Cisco and network security. Now running Revolution Web Design, to provide customers with great Web Design, SEO and digital strategy advice.