Archive for February, 2013
You might have heard the terms before, but the real reason people are increasingly using VPNs and proxies is simply that thousands of wonderful media sites online are now restricted based on your location and IP address. When you connect, they check your location based on your IP address and then decide what you can see – it’s the reason why I can’t access M6 Replay outside France or watch BBC Iplayer anywhere except the UK.
For instance, I was recently in Spain with my work and got kinda bored staying in a hotel. So decided to watch some UK television online using my laptop. Unfortunately I then discovered that because I then had a Spanish IP address (from the hotels Wifi), I was now blocked from all the best UK websites like the BBC Iplayer and ITV etc. It was kind of annoying until I discovered there was a solution and an easy one at that.
By the way if you don’t know why people are so keen to get access to BBC Iplayer - you should really check it out. It’s without doubt one of the best media resources available online, in fact I don’t think anything comes close although there are some excellent US sites like Hulu and Pandora for music.
Anyway for those of us who either live or travel abroad a lot, having access to these sites is a godsend. You don’t have to sit watching a TV show in a language you don’t understand or some awful cable channel.
So What is the Solution to Watching BBC IPlayer Abroad?
Basically the problem is your IP address, everyone is linked to a specific country and it’s very easy to look up. Many websites look your location up as soon as you access their site, they then tailor what you can see based on that information. It’s called Geotargeting and frankly it’s extremely annoying – you’ll normally get an error message like the image below.
Or perhaps this one if you try and access Pandora outside the US.
The way around it is quite simple, you just have to make the website think your in a different country by using an IP address from the required country. Unfortunately you can’t modify your own address easily as this is assigned by your ISP. However you can connect via a proxy server based in the correct country and use it’s address.
So for example to watch BBC Iplayer outside the UK you’d connect through a UK proxy. If you wanted to watch Hulu from outside the US then you’d need a proxy based in the USA, Pandora needs an American one too and so on.
It’s really that simple – the website sees the IP address of the proxy server and not your real one. This short video shows the steps -
Where do I get a Proxy Server to Watch Iplayer or Hulu?
There’s a few options depending on time and budget. You can find some free ones online if you search – however it takes a long time to find one in the right country and fast enough to relay video through. In reality you’ll be best to settle on one of the many services that are available. A commercial service should be plenty fast enough and you know it will always be working when you want to watch something.
The one I use is Identity Cloaker which has been around for many years – it’s way better than any of the TV watching services and does much more. Try the trial first if you are unsure to test it out -
Identity Cloaker 10 day trial – it gives you access to all the top media sites in UK, USA, France, Canada and Germany to name only a few.
Well if you like to idle away those long winter nights (and days) in Reykjavik by surfing a little porn online, then you might want to consider moving away. The Iceland Government have decided they want to do something good for their citizens (as opposed to bankrupting the country with a hopeless banking system) and are going to ban pornography from the web in Iceland.
Every time I see these sort of stories my heart sinks, why can’t people just leave the internet alone and let people make up their own minds. You might think that it’s all for a good cause, banning all that nasty porn stuff and everyone will behave and be nice to each other. Who knows they might be right, but what I do know is that censoring and filtering the internet doesn’t work – it never does.
An adviser to Iceland’s interior minister- Ogmundur Jonasson who is drafting the legislation was quoted as follows -
“At the moment, we are looking at the best technical ways to achieve this…..but surely if we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the internet.”
A comment that first got me thinking, can Iceland actually send a man to the moon and secondly they haven’t got a clue about how to achieve this and what sort of issues they will face.
It’s just another of these populist ideas that politicians have, the fact that when you start censoring and filtering the internet, you also start to erode people’s civil liberties. I have no idea if there is any scientific basis to the argument that no porn on internet = less rape and sex crimes, I suspect very little. However I do know that any content filtering will only work against a minority of citizens and almost exclusively on the law abiding ones.
There are so many ways to bypass these filters, that your average sexual predator will easily be able to access whatever pornography they like. The Chinese Government have invested billions in their Great Firewall of China and yet your average 12 year old Beijing schoolboy can easily bypass them using a simple VPN or high anonymity proxy. Do we have any evidence that Iceland will come up with a technical solution more advanced than the People’s republic of China – obviously it it’s not going to happen.
What will happen is that another Government will have a little more control over it’s citizens, but only the ones who follow rules anywhere. The Iceland government will also have this infrastructure installed so maybe next year they’ll think of some thing else we shouldn’t do online and will add that to the banned list. It always happens you start by banning one thing then it just get’s easier and easier to control more aspects of what people can do online.
It’s negative, oppressive and most of all it doesn’t work…..
If you’re in Iceland, Kuwait, Iran, China or anywhere else where the Governments decides whether you can watch porn, politics , sports or whatever – then try this – Identity Cloaker, it’s not just a simple proxy for watching porn over, but a sophisticated security product that can bypass all sorts of blocks and filters and keep you hidden whilst you do so!