It may be teenagers wanting to get on Facebook in a country where the social network is blocked, netizens trying to hide their identity from the government, or something as simple as consumers wishing to access porn or region-locked websites such as Netflix, Pandora or Spotify.
Whatever their purpose, Internet users in Asia have made India, Vietnam, Thailand and China — in that order — the top four countries for proxy server use, a new study finds.
According to the report, almost a fifth of global Internet users who connect via proxy servers (also called virtual private networks or VPNs) do so in order to hide their online activity from government officials.
By rerouting traffic through an intermediary location, VPNs make it possible for users to access websites that are censored or region-locked, and to share data securely. The four countries topping the chart all have long lists of websites blocked because of censorship rules — among them social networks, foreign media and, unsurprisingly, porn sites.