Anonymous downloading with a VPN service

Most people know that you are not entirely anonymous on the Internet, seeing as every Internet connection has an address, the so-called IP address. Something not so many people know, however, is that you can easily hide your IP address by making use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Due to the download ban that was implemented in 2014, many private users will benefit from anonymous surfing. What exactly has been banned in 2014, what is anonymous Internet usage and how does a VPN service help with this? In this article you will read more about anonymous downloading with a VPN.

Why is it necessary to download anonymously with a VPN?

Until 2014 it was legal in the Netherlands to download things such as movies, series or songs, as long as it was done for private use only. Here it was not relevant whether the files were copyrighted. However, in April 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Netherlands is doing too little to protect copyright. This judgment immediately led to the introduction of a ‘download ban’, as the new legislation is called by the public. This name is however not entirely correct, seeing as there is of course not a complete ban on downloading. What is forbidden, however, is downloading files from ‘illegal sources’. This means you can still download files, as long as the files are offered for download with permission from the proprietors. By the way, it is not possible to circumvent the download ban by streaming a movie, rather than downloading it. When streaming, an illegal copy is also made. The fact that this copy is not stored on your hard disk permanently in case of streaming, is irrelevant for the download ban. Therefore, streaming a movie using a service such as Popcorn Time is illegal. Streaming the same movie using Netflix however, is fully legal. So the download ban is all about the source of a download (or stream).

How does a VPN guarantee anonymity?

It might be forbidden to download from an illegal source, but how can offenders of this ban be traced in the first place? Hidden behind a desktop or laptop, many have the illusion that they are anonymous on the world wide web, however this is not entirely the case. In order for computers to be able to exchange files online, each Internet connection has its own number. This is called the IP address, whereby IP stands for Internet Protocol. Your Internet connection also has a unique IP address. All data that you get from the Internet, by visiting a website or downloading a file, is transmitted to this IP address. Your Internet usage therefore leaves behind certain ‘tracks’. These tracks are leads for organizations such as the BREIN foundation, an association of interests that fights against copyright infringements, to localize illegal downloaders.  This is where a VPN service comes in handy. When you make use of a VPN service, a connection is first made from your computer or phone with one of the servers of the VPN provider. The VPN server then creates a connection with for example Popcorn Time. This means that the only traceable lead will be from Popcorn Time to the VPN server, not to your computer. With a VPN service you are thus actually anonymous on the Internet, so that you will not have to fear the download ban.

What type of VPN is suitable for downloaders?

As an illegal downloader, you will want to achieve two things: full anonymity and short download times. So that your privacy will actually be completed protected, it is important that the VPN provider does not store any data on your Internet usage. Some VPN providers store the Internet usege of the clients in so-called ‘logs’. These logs are then saved for a certain period of time or even permanently. Because of these logs, your privacy is still at risk. Luckily there are also VPN providers that are completely free of logs. Furthermore it is important that the VPN provider has many and fast servers. Your connection with the world wide web is established through one of the VPN servers after all, meaning a slow server can lead to longer download times.

Download risk-free with a VPN service

The hunt for illegal downloaders is already in full swing in neighboring foreign countries and in the Netherlands organizations such as the BREIN foundation have received a new weapon to protect copyrights, together with the download ban that went into force in 2014. Do you still want to be able to download torrents and other files without worries? Make use of a VPN service. For your privacy and download fun, choose a VPN service without logs and with fast servers. View the best VPN services and start anonymous downloading with a VPN.

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Written by

Kees van Vliet

Kees van Vliet

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