This is going to be old news for you readers in Australia, but it might provide a bit of a heads up to other readers and help them to prepare for changes that may come in their region.
Sometime around 2015, the Australian government began suggesting proposals that would allow their Internet Service Providers to monitor content and use three strikes you’re out system against any who infringe on copyright. This led to a lot of questions about the use of VPNs in Australia.
In the spring of 2017, some of these suggestions and proposals became a reality. New rules were imposed requiring Australian ISPs and telecommunications companies to collect metadata about their customer’s communications.
In case you’re not clear as to what metadata is, it can include your name, address, date of birth, email address and any other type of identifying information that may be listed in your account. You may be thinking that’s not so bad, I freely provided that information when I signed up.
It gets worse.
Metadata also includes the type of communication used, be that voice, email, chat, forum, SMS, social media, or any other type of modern communication. If that’s not bad enough, they will also be monitoring your location at the point where the communication starts really and where it ends. As well as the address and details of that endpoint.
Note, we should be clear that this does not mean they are spying upon the websites you might visit or what you did when you there. But who knows how long it will be before that’s added into legislation as well?
Even without that bit of information, the knowledge of what they are collecting is enough for many to decide they need to use a VPN. So doing some research on the best VPN for Australian users is a really smart idea.
Use a VPN
What can a VPN do to protect your online privacy?
A VPN is a good idea whether or not you are concerned about local authorities and service providers spying on you. Especially if you ever use public Wi-Fi networks. Have you ever grabbed your laptop at lunchtime, so you can continue working while you grab a bite to eat? Do you give any consideration to the danger of accessing not only your own sensitive information but the sensitive information of the company you work for? In some cases, it could mean your job.
A VPN protects you against the dangers inherent to public Wi-Fi. In a sense, it creates a sort of firewall around the data on your computer and the data that you transmit.
Those benefits are great, now let’s add to those the benefits provided to those who might be worried about someone snooping on them.
A VPN keeps your activity private and allows you to be anonymous as you travel around online. No one knows where you started from, and no one knows your destination. This is achieved when you log into your VPN using a server situated anywhere in the world. So your Australian ISP can’t track and collect data on you because they don’t know where you are. And you don’t need to be someone who is visiting questionable websites to want to have your privacy protected.
Want to know another benefit of a VPN? Are you Netflix user? Perhaps some other streaming provider? Are you frustrated at the lack of content in your country? A VPN will solve all of those frustrations.
Remember how I said above that you log into your VPN using a server that is situated anywhere in the world? Simply sign in from the server situated in the USA and put those frustrations behind you. You suddenly have a whole new world of TV and movie viewing open to you.
The Legalities and What They Mean to You
Even if you feel your government has made it legal for your Internet Service Provider to spy on you, chances are you still try to be a law-abiding citizen. Few of us want to put ourselves in a situation where we have to go head to head with the law. Those are often losing fights for us, and not for them.
So, is it legal to use a VPN in Australia? There is no simple yes or no answer. Yes, you can use it to circumvent geo-restrictions on content. But there are copyrights and distribution rights on that content for specific countries. So you would still be infringing upon those rights, and it would still be technically illegal. Another issue can arise if you provide a false address, which could then put you in breach of the license agreement with the streaming content provider. This would be considered fraud.
However, if you’re simply using a VPN to protect your privacy and aren’t intending to skirt the law, you aren’t in the legal danger. But unless you actually read every word of the contract you signed with your ISP, you may not know what you legally agreed to do or not to do.
So in the end, proceed at your own risk.