Everything we do requires technology these days and with that comes the internet. We live in a totally digital world where we remain connected 24/7 globally. Within a global digital world, we are sharing private information every day online from personal photos to our financial details, everything is online. As of 2020 figures from The Telegraph show that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet, that is an immense number of devices when you consider that there are 7.7 billion people estimated in the world.
As you can imagine with any private information being shared with in person, paper or online, there is always a risk that it could be seen or used by people it is not destined for. The government is interested in what people are viewing online especially in some countries where there are strict rules on online content. Criminals are trying to hack into online data and information to commit crimes such as fraud and businesses are increasingly trying to understand consumers browsing behavior in order to sell to them more through online means. Regardless of whether external people trying to browse peoples data are trying to do right or wrong, it has been a driver for many to look at ways that they can hide their internet connection. One way of hiding the information shared on an internet connection is through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). By using a VPN all information shared via an individual’s internet connection is coded so that external forces are unable to read it.
The number of people around the world using a VPN is seemingly increasing in line with the amount of data that we seem to also be sharing. Last month 25% of people globally used a VPN when logging online, to prevent others from accessing their browsing information. There are many VPN services worldwide that are even free in many cases, and therefore they are extremely accessible for many, even in poorer countries.
There are several different motivators for people when it comes to accessing the internet via a VPN, many of which differ depending on the user’s age, gender and location. There are significantly more men in the world than women using VPN’s, with 68% of the VPN user population being male compared to 38% female. VPN’s are also much more widely used with a younger more tech-savvy generation with 68% of users ranging between 16-34. The biggest differentiation between motivators to use VPN’s are whether they are related to hiding confidential information or whether they are being used to access online content. These motivations change significantly depending on what country users live in due to a number of different social, economic and political factors.
According to bestvpn.uk.com, the country ranked with the highest number of people accessing the internet through a VPN is Indonesia, with recent figures showing that 38% of the population are VPN users. The biggest motivating factor for Indonesians to access the internet via a VPN is so that they can gain privacy when accessing online content. Indonesia has a very strict government that controls what worldwide content is accessible within the country. The government blocks any content which they consider negative. As VPN’s provide users with a local IP address through a server within the country they are trying to access content from, Indonesians can view content abroad without being blocked by their own countries Internet Service Providers (ISP).