New Zealand is a beautiful country, but take a close look at its internet policies, and you’ll start to see its ugly side. From calls for censorship to mass surveillance, there are many reasons why you need a VPN in New Zealand.
Here are the 10 biggest reasons — and how a VPN can ease your worries.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN While in New Zealand
1. New Zealand Is a Member of the Five Eyes Surveillance Group
In the shadows of the global intelligence community, there’s an ultra-powerful group with unprecedented surveillance capabilities. It’s called Five Eyes and comprises five countries: the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and, yes, New Zealand.
The Five Eyes countries swap intelligence and collaborate on developing new digital surveillance technology. With their combined powers, they’re able to spy on anyone from heads of state to average Joes.
New Zealand’s government is almost certainly providing Five Eyes with surveillance data on its citizens. But you can help keep your internet traffic out of circulation by encrypting it with a VPN.
2. New Zealand’s Government Has Promoted International Online Censorship
In the wake of the horrific Christchurch massacre, which was live-streamed by the perpetrator, New Zealand introduced a new censorship bill.
The bill would ban “objectionable content” from the internet. While this would include objectively horrific things, like the video of the shooting, it’s such a vague term that it could include almost anything else, too.
And New Zealand’s government has taken its efforts global. The country’s “Christchurch Call” summit resulted in 17 countries agreeing to censor the internet and push government-approved “counter-narratives” instead.
Censorship isn’t the answer to violence, but New Zealand clearly disagrees. If you want to avoid this censorship and continue enjoying the free internet, a VPN’s encryption will let you do so.
3. Internet Surveillance Is on the Rise in New Zealand
As if censorship wasn’t bad enough, surveillance is also becoming a massive problem in New Zealand.
In 2014, Edward Snowden revealed that New Zealand had been carrying out mass metadata surveillance on its citizens for several years. Government officials denied this, but Snowden’s leaked documents proved otherwise.
New Zealand has also been caught using NSA programs like XKEYSCORE (PDF link) to monitor web traffic content and metadata.
All New Zealanders need to protect themselves against this gross invasion of privacy. A VPN’s encryption is the best tool you have against internet surveillance.
4. All Digital Communications in New Zealand Are Accessible by the Government
The government controls New Zealand’s internet, and that poses a huge threat to your privacy.
Under the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Act, all digital communications must be accessible by the government.
And to make matters worse, another law, the GCSB Bill, gives the government full control over the operation and design of telecommunications networks. This gives the government even more spying capabilities and even less oversight.
But the government can’t read your intercepted data if a VPN encrypts it.
5. New Zealand Spies on the Internet for Other Countries
New Zealand has shown itself to be willing to collaborate on other countries’ surveillance operations. Case in point: the Kim Dotcom case.
Kim Dotcom founded Megaupload, a filesharing site often used to host copyrighted content. The US government wanted to hold Kim, a New Zealand resident, responsible for this content, and New Zealand offered to help.
For a month and a half, New Zealand illegally intercepted Kim’s internet traffic on behalf of the US. As a result, Kim’s home was raided and he has spent nearly a decade fighting to avoid extradition to the US.
You may not be as high-profile as Kim Dotcom, but that doesn’t make your privacy any less valuable. Protect yourself against surveillance, whether domestic or international, with a VPN.
6. The US Monitors New Zealand’s Main Internet Cable
95% of New Zealand relies on the undersea Southern Cross Cable for internet access.
And that means that the NSA will likely monitor 95% of New Zealand.
In 2013, the New Zealand Herald reported that the NSA was paying the owners of the cable for the privilege of operating an interception point on it. Through this point, the NSA would be able to spy on all internet traffic coming and going from New Zealand.
Don’t want the NSA reading your emails and logging your activity? Then use a VPN — not even the NSA can break its encryption.
7. With a VPN, You Can Stream Content from Anywhere
New Zealand’s streaming libraries aren’t as robust as other countries. That’s because Netflix and other streaming sites geo-restrict their content to appease licensors.
But you don’t need to travel to access international streaming libraries. Just change your location with a VPN, and streaming sites will show you all they have to offer.
8. VPNs Protect You While Torrenting
New Zealand doesn’t typically prosecute torrenters who download copyrighted material. But copyright holders still monitor torrents, log IP addresses and attempt to extort money from torrenters.
To avoid this trouble, mask your real IP address with a VPN. Your torrenting activity will be private and untraceable, just the way it should be.
9. A VPN Keeps You Safe on Public WiFi
Nobody wants their identity or data stolen, but if you use public WiFi, it’s a real possibility. Hackers can easily hop onto a hotspot and use a variety of attacks to intercept and steal your private data.
But if you encrypt your traffic with a VPN, no hacker will be able to tell exactly what it says. A VPN’s advanced encryption is too tough for even the best hackers to crack.
10. You Can Unblock Websites at Work with a VPN
Want to scroll through Facebook or watch a YouTube video on your lunch break, but can’t because your boss has blocked all social media?
If so, you need a VPN. Website blocks on work, school, library, and other networks are no match for a VPN’s encryption and traffic-masking capabilities.