If there’s anything we have learned about being a nomad is that the internet is a necessity. How else can you communicate with family and friends in Georgia or navigate a new city? With everything you need the internet for, it can be frustrating to live in a country with no internet or limitations to sites you can access.
Although it is unacceptable and bizarre that in the 21st century, there are still places without internet connection, this is sadly the reality.
Internet freedom is the right to use the net without restriction, censorship, or enforced bias. Although no country is 100% free, some limitations are justifiable. For example, to prevent the spread of illegal content or limit public access to classified information.
The Internet Freedom Index by Freedom House lists 70 countries and ranks them under the following criteria;
- Online obstacles: Sociopolitical barriers like unfavorable cyber laws, an unstable economy, substandard infrastructure, and imposed internet shut-offs
- Content restrictions: Blocking websites or social media platforms and censoring or manipulating the media and information.
- User rights violation: Disregarding user privacy or suppressing freedom of expression by punishing citizens who speak against the government or report the truth.
6 Countries Where Internet Is Limited
- China: China's government placed extreme restrictions on connectivity or access to content on some websites. Chinese users have limited access only to censored, monitored, and manipulated versions of the internet. The search engines; Google and Yahoo, have remained blocked since 2012 and 2018, respectively. Microsoft’s Bing remains accessible due to its compliance with the government’s censorship requirements. Although Chinese internet users can access blocked websites with VPNs, the government has banned unlicensed VPNs.
- North Korea: Although there is internet in North Korea, it is restricted and primarily used by foreigners and government organizations. Special authorization from the government is needed to access the internet.
- Iran: Only about half of the population of Iran has some kind of internet connection. Majorly because of the limits placed by the Iranian government. The government is known for using speed throttling to frustrate users and limit their communications.
- Turkmenistan: Despite the access to the internet since 1997, the press and communication system of Turkmenistan is still state-controlled. The telecom market remains very small.
- Venezuela: The Internet in Venezuela is available in the country’s capital, Caracas, and accessible by majorly the younger, educated city residents Experts say the lack of quality internet in Venezuela is due to the poor infrastructure of the country.
- Cuba: Despite improvements to technical infrastructure, Cuba has one of the lowest connectivity rates in the Western Hemisphere. Access to the internet remains expensive, and connections are poor. Less than half of the country's population has access to the Internet, not including mobile internet. Authorities monitor usage and direct traffic to the government-controlled intranet. The government manipulates content and blocks independent news sites.
Internet Limitation And The Traveling Nomad
Nomads love to travel and explore. And wherever they find themselves, having unlimited access to the internet from the comfort of their homes is a necessity. But with some countries placing restrictions on using some sites and Apps, it becomes nearly impossible for nomads to get work done or make connections via social media platforms. Digital nomads need VPNs to ensure global content access, cybersecurity, and encryption. The last thing you want is someone or an organization keeping track of your activities online.
Virtual Private Networks(VPNs) and Cybersecurity
As internet restrictions increases, the use of Virtual Private Networks has become popular. VPNs encrypt internet traffic and mask a user’s IP address. Thus, making them the perfect tool for unblocking content and improving privacy.
People use VPNs for various reasons.
- Companies use VPNs to improve information security.
- Individuals and families use VPNs to protect their privacy online.
- VPNs can help unblock georestricted sites.
- Frequent travelers and nomads use VPNs in countries where social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are banned.
- VPNs can help you gain access to geospecific versions of streaming sites like Netflix.
Is Using VPNs Legal?
Yes, VPNs are legal in most countries in the world. However, a few countries are trying to outlaw VPNs. To learn more about countries where using VPNs is a crime, click here.
Best VPNs for international travel
Depending on your needs and budget, one of these VPNs would be perfect for your travels.
Traveling to countries with internet limitations doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with the rest of the world. By using a VPN, you can have access to global content while ensuring privacy and security. As some countries criminalize using VPNs, always research the laws concerning VPN restrictions in your desired destination.