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Storage obligation for internet data in Australia

on April 13th of 2015 the so-called Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Storage) Act 2015 was made into law. The law obligates telecom companies to save certain data concerning telephone and/ or internet usage of their customers for a period of two years. The data internet providers have to save has mostly to do with email traffic. This means telecom providers must keep track from where an email has been sent, when this happens (date and time) and who the recipients are. Even the size, file type and possible attachments are being saved. The contents are not saved, on the other hand. Some 22 government bodies, varying from the Australian intelligence agency to local police offices and the Australian tax office have access this data. Remarkable is that no injunction is necessary, meaning they can use the data provided and saved by internet providers as they see fit. Only for looking into email traffic concerning journalists a court order is required. Obviously, this law has attracted heaps of criticism from organizations and individuals who are concerned about human rights and (online) privacy, but this couldn’t prevent this law from coming into effect.

Anonymous internet in Australia

Because of the far-reaching storage obligation for Australian internet providers, being able to go on the internet anonymously has become very important in Australia. A VPN makes this possible. Australian senators who are opposed to the storage obligation, like for example Scott Ludlam of the Australian Greens appeals to Australians to use a VPN-service to keep their privacy. It is completely legal in Australia, as it is in the Netherlands, to use a VPN-service. Regarding the importance of anonymity it is being advised to choose a VPN-provider with advanced technologies. There are for example VPN-services which will automatically be turned on when you connect to the internet en which will break the internet connection when (for whatever reason) contact with the VPN-servers fails (the so-called ‘kill switch’). These functions come in handy because they prevent that you will ever be online without the VPN being on. When this happens you will make a connection with your own IP-address, which is being monitored by the internet provider, meaning that if you will make an internet connection, you will do so with your own IP-address, resulting in losing your privacy.

Circumvent Geographical blockades in Australia

when you, as a Dutch person, are working in Australia, are on holiday, or is living there as an expat, it could be difficult to watch the trusted Dutch TV programs online. Netflix, for example, has a different selection of films and series in each country. In Australia you will have to use the Australian Netflix, instead of the trusted Dutch Netflix. Moreover, you won’t be able to watch a lot of series and other programs online. That is because this content has so-called geographical restrictions, meaning you are only able to watch them in a specific region (in this case the Netherlands). Providers of online videos and other content with a geographical restriction determine where someone is from, based on their IP-address. With a VPN-service you will be able to ‘change’ the IP-address that those websites see. You can do this by first making a connection with a VPN-server based in the Netherlands. This server has a Dutch IP-address allowing you to gain access to all Dutch TV broadcasts. When picking a VPN-provider it is therefore important that you pick a provider with servers based in the Netherlands. To watch broadcasts comfortably, you should also pick fast servers, while you are at it.

What is the best VPN in Australia?

in Australia, online anonymity is even more important than it is in the Netherlands, meaning you should pay extra attention when choosing a VPN-provider. A ‘kill switch’ and other advanced VPN technologies protecting you online anonymity are no unnecessary luxury in Australia. Do you want to use your VPN-service to watch Dutch TV programs online as well? Pick a VPN-provider with (preferably) fast servers based in the Netherlands.

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