Back in the mid-90s, Microsoft invented the Virtual Private Network, also known as the VPN. This breakthrough technology was developed so that remote employees could securely access their work network. Since then, VPN use has reached the consumer masses, allowing expats around the world to connect to a private network and access the web they know and love from back home.
But the benefits of a VPN go far beyond content access, extending into such philosophical issues as human rights and freedom of speech and expression. VPN technology has given a voice to millions. Here’s how.
How Does a VPN Work?
What is a VPN?
A VPN functions very much like it sounds. It allows you to set up a completely private, secure connection to another network, generally in another country. This enables you to browse the web as if you were in that country, while also creating an encrypted tunnel for your data so it can’t be intercepted by snoopers, hackers, and third parties.
Initially used as a way for employees to remotely and safely access their office network, consumer VPNs make the same benefits easily available to anyone, on any device.
Generally when you connect to a consumer VPN, you can select from a wide range of international servers and change your IP address — essentially a string of numbers that identifies your device’s location on the web.
When you connect to an international VPN server, your actual IP address is masked and one of the VPN’s IP addresses is what faces the world, mimicking an IP address of the country you’ve selected, and that’s what allows you to experience the web as if you were actually sitting in your location of choice.
The major benefits of a VPN are four-fold and include the ability to: bypass online geo-restrictions and access otherwise restricted content and sites; protect your personal data from hackers and snoopers over unsecured Public Wi-Fi networks; conceal your digital footprints from government agencies, advertisers, and website owners; and last but not least, avoid online price discrimination to save considerable money on flights, rental cars, and software subscriptions.
VPN usage became especially popular in 2013 after the well-known Snowden leaks. Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked classified NSA documents that revealed the agency’s extensive internet and phone surveillance.
For many of us, VPN benefits are undoubtedly invaluable. But for some, these benefits are essential — especially for citizens living in closed, highly censored societies.
Online Censorship Throughout the World
Over 65 countries around the world censor the Internet to some extent, and according to The Freedom House’s “Freedom on the Net” 2015 report, the level of Internet Freedom is steadily declining.
The Great Firewall of China
China is the most notorious example. Commonly known as the Great Firewall of China, China’s vast web of Internet censorship is among the most extensive in the world. The most popular and beloved social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, YouTube, and Instagram, are completely blocked.
In addition to social networks and social networking apps, the world’s leading search engine, Google, along with its many helpful utilities like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Drive, is also unavailable. So is Duckduckgo, a search engine that doesn’t track your online activity.
But even if you’re on an approved search engine, many terms and keywords are still censored. For instance, spiritually-related topics like Falun Gong and of course, topics related to controversial political events such as Tiananmen Square are completely off limits.
Ironically, even some terms which could be potentially harmless like ‘jiang,’ which means river, are banned due to their association. Jiang is a common surname which happens to be tied to the rumours about the death of Jiang Zemin, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.
Along with social networks, popular search networks and specific search terms, international new sources, like the New York Times, and a number of photo and file sharing sites, like Dropbox and Flickr, are blocked as well. China’s Great Firewall is so restrictive that China’s Great Firewall inventor, Fang Binxing, was forced to use a VPN to bypass his very own creation when he gave a lecture on Internet safety.
Twitter Silenced in Turkey
But China is certainly not alone. In Turkey, apps and sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube have all been blocked at one point or another.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has even gone so far as to say that he is “increasingly against the Internet every day.” In March of 2014, when discussing Facebook and YouTube to a rally of supporters, he stated: “We will wipe out all of these.”
Two weeks later, prior to local elections and following the leak of potentially incriminating audio recordings, Twitter was blocked for several hours. One week later, YouTube was blocked as well.
Then in April of 2015, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were all blocked after photos of a prosecutor that was taken hostage and killed by militants began circulating on social media. The government demanded these networks remove these photos, and shortly after they complied, the sites went back online.
Most recently, social network outages occurred during both the Istanbul airport terror attack and military coup.
In the case of the airport attack, the Turkish government maintained the blocks were for “national security and public order.”
Mother Russia’s Rutnet
Russia is no friend of Internet freedom either. To more effectively censor, the country’s controversial blogging law requires bloggers with more than 3,000 readers to register with the authorities and publish content under their real names. In May of 2015, international sites and social networks, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, all came close to being blocked for their refusal to hand over the names of bloggers and remove content the Russian General Attorney deemed to be “extremist.”
Prior to this, in April of 2014, Facebook, Gmail, and Skype came close to being banned due to the country’s “anti-terror” data snooping laws, which threatened to block the services unless they stored data on Russian soil.
The Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s top Internet regulator, is very sensitive to several topics of choice including: political protest, profanity, drugs, suicide, “gay propaganda,” and extremism. Because of this, pages like Reddit, GitHub, and Wikipedia have all been temporarily blocked. Youtube has also been in hot water. The entire site was almost blocked temporarily after hosting unauthorized copies of local Russian TV shows.
VPN Access & Freedom of Expression for All
In the face of online censorship, VPNs have proven to be a powerful tool for providing invaluable freedom of expression.
Fighting for Democracy: Uganda 2016 Elections
In February of 2016, the Ugandan presidential and parliamentary elections took place. This was a highly anticipated election for many who hoped to end the oppressive 30 year run of 71-year-old president Gen Y. K. Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
But when citizens took to the polls, they discovered that their access to social media services, including Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp, had been completely cut off.
According to Museveni, these were temporary measures to stop people from “creating trouble” and “telling lies.”
Left with no access, many Ugandans turned to VPNs. Over the course of the four-day ban, nearly 1.5 million citizens downloaded VPN software — 15 percent of the internet-using population.
With 77 percent of the population under 30 years old, Uganda is a country with the youngest population in the world, and so it’s no surprise that social media, and the lack thereof, played such a pivotal role in this election.
On social media, citizens were able to express their views regarding the corruption and unjust practices surrounding the election that included the deaths and arrests of innocent people, the use of tear gas, and the complete absence of ballot papers and boxes in certain locations. The hashtags #UgandaDecides and the satirical #MuseveniDecides began trending on Twitter.
Although Museveni was ultimately declared the winner, with just over 60 percent of the vote, young Ugandans were victorious in their own right. Their determination combined with VPN technology allowed them to bypass unjust censorship, speak out, and exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Protecting the Environment: Protests in Vietnam
On May 16th of this year, the Vietnam government shut down Facebook and Instagram as dissidents tried to protest an environmental disaster that caused millions of dead fish to wash up on shore.
Citizens believe the disaster was caused by the Vietnamese government and Taiwan’s Formosa plastics, specifically the wastewater with toxic discharge coming from the company’s steel plant. Meanwhile, Formosa denied wrongdoing and the Deputy Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources claimed the fish deaths were caused by toxic algae bloom or industrial waste.
In an effort to speak out and protest, hundreds of people poured out into the streets to protest in cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, and more. They often used Facebook to organize the protests — hence the social media block.
Following suit, VPN providers experienced a surge in activity from Vietnamese users. One free proxy service, Hola, reported 200,000 Vietnamese users turning to their service over the course of one weekend.
For Vietnamese civilians, VPNs played a remarkable and pivotal role in their ability to speak out against environmental injustice and advocate on behalf of the natural world.
The Freedom to Communicate in Brazil
You know all those very useful calling apps you use to stay in touch with loved ones while you travel, or save on your phone bill? Well, you’d be surprised just how many countries censor and block them completely.
VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) apps, like Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber, are or have been blocked in numerous countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, and even Brazil — a country considered to be much more open and more moderate when it comes to Internet freedom.
Whatsapp has already been blocked three times in the country. The latest block took place on July 19th, but fortunately lasted only several hours. One block, however, in early May, took place over the course of 72 hours. Judge Marcel Mai Montalvão of the Sergipe state ordered the block as pushback after demanding Whatsapp turn over chat records related to a drug investigation. Yet Whatsapp, which now offers end-to-end encryption for 100 percent of the messages on its service, maintained they don’t keep such data, nor would they be able to decrypt the messages even if they did.
The result was a ban that had an immense impact on the larger Brazilian public.
Whatsapp is hugely popular in Brazil. In a country of 200 million people, it is the second most used app with over 100 million users, many of whom had to turn to VPNs or other encryption apps, like Telegram, to continue their normal communications.
The Fight for Freedom of Expression: #UnblockTheWeb
Certain VPN providers, recognizing the power of their platforms, have stepped up to the plate to advocate, fight for, and offer freedom of expression and speech. SaferVPN is one of them.
“Shortly after we founded SaferVPN one of the first emails we received was from a mother from Azerbaijan, ” said Sagi Gidali, Co-Founder and CPO of SaferVPN. “Her son was murdered in the army. She expressed to us that without our service she wouldn’t have been able to fully access the web to tell his story.”
“Thanks to the VPN,” said Sagi, “she was able to bypass strict online censorship and express herself freely.”
This got the Co-founders of SaferVPN really thinking about the value of their service and how they could make a greater change. So, together with the human rights crowdsourcing platform Movements.org, they established #UnblockTheWeb, an initiative to offer free VPN service to activists and dissidents who need it most.
Most recently the partnership provided much needed online anonymity and freedom to a coalition of online bloggers writing on behalf of cultural freedom and secularism in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, countless bloggers, atheists, and secular freethinkers have been the target of brutal attacks and murders by Islamic extremists. The need for such individuals to be able to speak out and express their views safely is absolutely essential.
“We realized we could offer much more than a premium service that allows expats to access their favorite streaming entertainment from back home — we could also serve the greater good with a service that has some really crucial benefits and value. Now, in the effort to further social justice and human rights, we see the very real impact of our technology.”
Want to join us in the fight for freedom of online expression? Get involved with the cause at Unblock The Web.
Trump Furious As New Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegation Emerges
- The Facts:
Trump angrily Tweets, calling our the "Radical Left" as new allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Justice Kavanaugh emerge.
- Reflect On:
How are we to move forward as so many politically driven claims come forth like this? Are they true? Are they a ploy? Can we truly ever tell? Are we seeing more political battles or a wake-up call about the misconduct of people?
President Donald Trump has come out suggesting Brett Kavanaugh should sue for “libel” after a fresh sexual assault allegation has emerged against the Supreme Court justice in the New York Times. Trump initially misspelled the word “libel” as “liable” and this of course sent mass media into a frenzy.
In an op-ed published yesterday, New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly stated that in the midst of their research for their forthcoming book about Kavanaugh, they found a previously unreported allegation of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court justice.
According to both Kelly and Pogrebin, Yale student Max Stier had witnessed Kavanaugh pull down his pants at a dorm party and his friends then pushed his penis into an unnamed female classmate’s hand.
Stier reportedly told senators and the FBI about the incident during the investigation into the then-Supreme Court justice nominee last year during the Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford accusation trial. According to the Times op-ed, the FBI did not investigate Stier’s account.
Trump accused the “Radical Left” and news media of attempting to intimidate Mr. Kavanaugh with the new allegation.
“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Since the new allegation on Kavanaugh, some have been calling for the impeachment of the Supreme Court Justice, the hashtag #impeachkavanugh has been trending on Twitter.
As we always say here at CE, not enough information about this has come to public access to make any complete statements. This certainly doesn’t stop most people from reacting extremely emotionally though, which sometimes you can’t blame people for when you look at the nature of some in high places, but at the same time reacting so emotionally often leads to issues we collectively could avoid by simply remaining calm and pursuing more information.
This, of course, is the design of our modern engineered rage culture, but this isn’t to say there isn’t truth to allegations like this, more so that creating rage, whether events are true or not, is what pulls society apart. This is the clear goal of those in power beyond government.
That said, it’s possible Kavanaugh is guilty in this case. While the Blasey Ford story in 2018 seemed to fall apart very quickly, including her witnesses, one cannot simply brush off new allegations. I do feel it is the responsibility of people and the media to be responsible and not move into a political rage as it often happens. I also feel honouring such allegations with a proper investigation is a necessary step in our current society.
On the Right, some might view this solely as a political ploy to create more chaos around Trump, this is not a bad observation as we have seen this so heavily with the hoaxed Russian Collusion investigation. It’s media ploys like that, which become proven false, that make it hard for people to then believe events that could be true.
On the Left, this story fits right into the rhetoric that has been building for years. The reality is, we have learned that many in high places are involved in inappropriate sexual acts. It simply appears though that we only want to see the truth of ones that fit our political beliefs and identity. For example, the DNC’s prized Clinton’s are highly implicated with Epstein’s pedo-ring, but that isn’t a convenient narrative for our beliefs, so let’s just stick to the Right and Kavanaugh being guilty.
Perhaps we can’t see the world clearly when we crowd our observation with identities and political sides?
The CE protocol is what it is for a reason, it’s designed to help humanity evolve and find peace. This involves breaking the illusion of our reality, awakening neutrality within ourselves, deprogramming limits and living aligned with that state of being. In this case, if we do not break the illusion political sides place on us, we cannot expect to see the truth of our world.
Those on the Left and those on the Right will always fail to see the hidden hand above that works to engineer society into these divides and keep us disempowered both consciously and within society.
Check out the CE Protocol here to learn more about how we can truly shift the way we see our world and ourselves.
Marianne Williamson Admits “The System Is More Corrupt Than I Knew”
- The Facts:
Marianne Williamson stated in an interview on Fox and Friends that she did not realize the political system was as corrupt as it is.
- Reflect On:
This is an important revelation of how leaders often don't quite see the full truth of our system at hand. Through them and their experience, we can learn a lot about what is truly going on. Is it time to let go of the systems we have?
About a week ago Marianne Williamson told the New Yorker, I know this sounds naïve, but I didn’t think the left was so mean. I didn’t think the left lied like this.” In a segment I did on CETV, I discussed the fact that Williamson is doing a great job of bringing a bit more of a conscious conversation into the mix here, which is very important, but seems to not quite understand what politics is really about and how things function in our world.
In my article about this statement I stated:
Some have suggested that Marianne already knows these truths, and she may, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is only uncovering these things now. I say this as I belong to a group that communicates regularly that contains many high profile conscious industry leaders like Williamson and other big authors, speakers etc. Many of them are great with spirituality but seem to struggle to see how politics truly functions. I have witnessed this first hand and this is why I’m so passionate about what I do as I feel bringing together both personal transformation and hard truth is imperative.
Some felt that my analysis was off and that Williamson is just ‘playing naive,’ but to me, this did not feel true nor did it seem to be the case. While some might view this as an unimportant detail, it’s very important as for society to truly begin to shift we must not only personally transform but also realize the true nature of the world we live in.
As outlined in the CE Protocol, the formula I built to help awaken and shift the masses, the very first step is Breaking The Illusion about our programmed reality and understand what’s truly going on. From there, personal transformation becomes key.
Williamson Admits She Was Unaware
Here we are a week later and Williamson has stated what I observed in my previous segment, she did not quite realize how corrupt our political system truly is. In an interview on Fox and Friends Williamson stated:
“I would say that I feel that I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I knew and people are even more wonderful than I hoped,
I want to state this isn’t about picking on anyone as much as it is about understanding the importance behind seeing the full picture of the change that needs to take place here. For 10 years now I have built CE to include both personal transformation and truth seeking for the reason that either one of those topics on their own doesn’t create the change we all know is possible in our hearts.
I’ve seen many ‘spiritual leaders’ still deeply support the dysfunctional nature of our systems because they believe there is truth to them when in reality they belong to a consciousness we are shifting away from.
Our political system is built and exists within a system designed for a very limited state of consciousness, some call this 3D consciousness. The goal isn’t to shift our political system, it’s to let it go. Collectively we are shifting and the new state of consciousness emerging doesn’t support the political system at hand. Hence why the chaos around it is increasing, because it’s acting as a mirror for us to see how it doesn’t resonate with our emerging consciousness.
It’s like trying to install Windows on a Mac or vice versa, the systems aren’t designed for the operating system. Humanity is faced with a challenge of ‘letting go of the old,’ not trying to fix the old.
In a brand new segment of The CE Show I did on YouTube and CETV, I discuss Marianne’s latest comments and what I feel we all must realize as we move forward in this journey of shifting ourselves and our world.
The CE Show airs multiple times per week on CETV. Membership proceeds from CETV go towards supporting our journalism and future broadcasts. You can start a free 7 day trial here.
I feel that we have become addicted to the systems of a state of consciousness that we are moving away from. The choice is up to us, we stop resisting and holding onto things of the old, move through the process of watching these old systems fall away, or we continue to fight tooth and nail under the belief that we must hold up the old systems, and suffer along the way.
Ask yourself within, do you truly feel that this is about changing our current political system to be more open and evolved? Or is it about letting go of the rigidity of our current systems and creating new ones that are birthed from a new state of consciousness, not one that is centuries old…
People Are Already Getting Arrested For Trying to “Storm Area 51”
- The Facts:
Two Dutch boys have been arrested for trespassing on US government property near Area 51. The came to the US to join the 'Storm Area 51' mass action that was set to take place Sept. 20, 2019.
- Reflect On:
Is UFO culture building in a big way around the world? If so, is it building in a credible way, or one driven by pop culture and fun?
Since the disclosure of UFOs hit the media in 2018 with the revelation that the US Military had video footage of a UFO they had filmed during flight, the ever building culture of UFOlogy got another big boost. Birthed from that was a viral campaign aimed at encouraging people to “storm Area 51” so they could see what the government was hiding.
Before the event could even take place two men who travelled all the way from the Netherlands have already been arrested for trespassing on the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The NNSS is a government nuclear facility located about 10 miles away from Area 51.
The mass action event was originally scheduled for September 20th, but after months of controversy the organizers have decided to hold a festival called “Alien Stock” so enthusiasts could gather instead of ‘storm.’ The event was set to take place Sept 19th but as of today it appears to be cancelled. The latest flyer online seemed to show the event was sponsored by Bud Light, meaning this event was set to be fairly large.
Not everyone was enthusiastic about the event. Locals of the small town of Rachel, Nevada, where the event was set to take place, were not happy about thousands of UFO seekers coming to town. They were so upset that a warning was posted on the town’s website stating that local residents would defend their property by force if they had to, saying that “the situation could get ugly.”
Since the cancellation, the town has posted the following:
The Alienstock event in Rachel just became Fyre Fest 2.0. The creator of the Storm Area 51 movement pulled out because he feels the event is not safe and lacks organization […] WARNING: At this time we have to warn people against coming to Rachel for the botched Storm Rachel event next weekend. The organizers are suing each other and in the meantime nothing is being done to prepare for the event. We expect riots when those visitors that may show up and paid good money find out that the reality looks nothing like what they were promised. People will get hurt. STAY AWAY FROM RACHEL NEXT WEEKEND!
As I reported about a month ago via my Instagram account, this entire Storm Area 51 event seemed more like a joke than anything else. In some ways, I even speculated that the push was a bit of a distraction from an even larger news story, one that is still relevant today: the Jeffrey Epstein arrest.
The Two Arrests
21-year-old Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep and 20-year-old Ties Granzie, are Dutch video creators who flew to the US to attend the much-anticipated event.
It did not take long for the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to find their vehicle parked three blocks inside the NNSS nuclear site. Interestingly, when the police found their belongings which included a camera, a laptop, and a drone, police found the pair already had already captured footage from inside the facility.
You could chalk this one up to a seek for some epic footage, you could also ay maybe they understand English so little that they couldn’t read the signs lol. Police feel that while Granzier and Sweep don’t understand English well, they should have been able to figure out the “No Trespassing” signs regardless. If convicted, the pair could face a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a $500 fine, or both, according to the US Department of Justice.
The most interesting aspect of this for me is the rise in the Ufology culture such that and an event like this could become mainstream so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, many of these people would attend to drink beer, do psychedelics perhaps, and have a good time, but regardless, the discussion of government secrets at Area 51 received a huge resurgence, and the UFO topic does not seem to be going away.
As we have always done here at CE, sticking to the legit, academic and credible examples of UFOs/Aliens has been the most effective way to open people up to what’s truly going on here.
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