Visiting, relocating to or already based in Australia? If so, then you need to be aware of the dangers you face online — and you need to use a VPN in Australia.
It’s not just hackers, phishers and viruses you need to worry about. Your ISP, the Australian government and international intelligence agencies are all eager to monitor and track you online.
Here are the top 10 reasons why a VPN is indispensable in Australia and beyond.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN While in Australia
1. Australia Has Some of the World’s Worst Data Retention Laws
Australia has mandatory 2-year data retention laws. All web companies must retain user data for at least two years and allow law enforcement to access it without a warrant at any time.
Though the law officially excluded ISPs from having to retain web browsing histories, in practice, it’s the opposite. Many ISPs are retaining browsing histories anyway — and giving them to police even without being asked for them.
Don’t let your browsing history become part of this extralegal scheme. Use a VPN to encrypt your web history and prevent your ISP (and the government) from knowing which sites you visit.
2. The Internet Is Censored by Australia’s Government
The Australian government doesn’t just want your browsing history. It also wants to stop you from viewing certain sites at all.
Currently, many torrenting and piracy sites are blocked, and some ISPs have expanded their blacklists to include other sites. In particular, anonymous message boards like 4chan that contain questionable content are often blocked.
To view these blocked sites, all you need to do is connect to a VPN. It stops anyone from seeing what URLs you’re trying to access, so you can’t be prevented from viewing them.
3. The Australian Government Is Trying to Break Encryption
You’d think that a country like North Korea or China would be the first to ban end-to-end encryption.
But you’d be wrong: it’s Australia.
In 2018, the Assistance and Access Bill was passed. This bill requires all web companies to decrypt and hand over user information to law enforcement upon request.
And if the company isn’t able to decrypt the information, it’ll be forced to build a backdoor into its system, bypassing encryption altogether.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself against this is to use a VPN — one that isn’t based in Australia or subject to Australian law. Keeping all of your traffic encrypted in this way will help you avoid the encryption ban.
4. Australia Is a Member of Five Eyes
Australia is one of the core members of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance. Along with the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand, it engages in mass surveillance of ordinary citizens’ digital communications.
Everything you do online is up for grabs, from emails to private messages to Skype calls to web histories. The countries in Five Eyes collaborate to build new monitoring technologies and swap intelligence, taking privacy invasion to the global level.
But not even Five Eyes can do anything with your data if it’s encrypted with a VPN. VPN encryption is still impossible to crack, even with five world superpowers behind the effort.
5. A VPN Protects You While You’re Torrenting
Piracy is a pretty big deal in Australia — and not in a good way.
ISPs are legally required to block torrent sites, and search engines are required to remove them from search results.
And if you get caught downloading copyrighted material, you could face a fine of up to $117,000 and up to five years in prison.
But a VPN prevents anyone from detecting your torrent activity. It also anonymizes your IP address so that your activity can’t be tied back to you.
6. VPNs Stop Network Administrators from Spying on You
If you use the internet at your school or workplace, you should assume you’re being watched by a network administrator. The network admin can see all the sites you visit and all the files you download — and block files and sites with just a few clicks.
Nobody likes being monitored or restricted, and with a VPN, you don’t have to be. Workplace website blocks will no longer work, so you can visit any site you want.
7. You Can Stream Anything from Anywhere with a VPN
Australians have access to streaming sites like Netflix, but the content within these sites is usually limited. Content libraries on streaming sites are restricted by country, so you’re not actually seeing everything the site has to offer.
But with a VPN, you can change your IP address to one from another country. The streaming site will think you’re actually from that country, and it’ll show you new and exclusive content to stream.
8. Your ISP Can Limit Your Speeds Based on Your Activity
Gaming, HD streaming, torrenting and other high-bandwidth activities are fun for you, but not for your ISP. In fact, ISPs dislike these activities so much that they can slow your speeds down to a trickle if they detect that you’re doing them.
But since a VPN hides your activity behind military-grade encryption, your ISP won’t be able to tell what you’re doing. Therefore, it won’t be able to slow you down just because you’re trying to watch a movie.
9. Companies Can’t Use Location-Based Price Gouging Against You with a VPN
Many companies, like hotels and airlines, charge different prices based on your IP address. Your Australian IP may return a hotel price of $275 a night — but change it to a US IP and that price could drop to $200!
Location-based price gouging is a pain, but it’s easily escapable with a VPN. You can just switch to a different VPN server, clear your cookies and get updated (and often much cheaper) prices.
10. A VPN Keeps You Safe on Public WiFi
Public WiFi may be convenient for you, but it’s even more convenient for identity thieves. All a data-hungry hacker needs to do is connect and run a simple program to view and steal your personal information.
But a VPN’s powerful encryption makes your data useless to hackers, which in turn keeps you safe.