If you’re struggling to make sense of the sudden explosion of virtual private network (VPN) apps on the web, then maybe you’ll find solace in the fact that you’re not alone. A lot of people have no idea why Google Play Store and App Store are suddenly filling up with so many VPN options, a tech that has been around for quite some time but was mainly catering to the enterprise market until a few years ago.
In case you missed the changing online dynamics and are therefore left baffled by the rising trend of connecting to the web through paid and free VPN proxy apps on Android and iOS devices, here’s a quick overview of three most important factors that have shaped the current scenario.
The Snowden Effect
Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden opened a Pandora’s Box upon leaking classified information pertaining to US Government’s mass surveillance program. It was discovered that the government, through its intelligence services, was scooping up private data, including emails, text messages, and media, of internet and cell phone users without their consent.
Ever since the day Snowden let the cat out of the bag, internet users have been fearing for their privacy. Naturally, they are not at all okay with anyone, even the government, viewing their private conversations and media.
To protect themselves from the prying eyes, they began seeking a way to attain online privacy. Ever since they discovered VPN apps and recognized their potential to keep their tracks hidden on the web, they haven’t looked back.
The Always-Online Youth Culture
It may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but today’s youth can hardly go a few hours without checking in on social media and posting the latest updates of their life. Even when they’re out with friends, they just aren’t willing to disconnect from the online world.
To facilitate this lifestyle, a lot of public places like cafés, restaurants, etc. have started offering free Wi-Fi. However, these networks are completely unsecured, which means hackers can easily intercept the data, including sensitive information, of anyone connected to these networks.
Wary of this threat but desperate to avail the free Wi-Fi facility, youngsters had been exploring the web to look for a viable solution for a long time and finally found it in the form of top VPN Android and iPhone apps, most of which offer a free version.
VPNs preserve privacy by encrypting users’ web traffic and masking their IP address, thus making it extremely challenging for their data to be intercepted or their tracks to be followed.
Before long, word of their ability to offer protection against hackers on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks spread, causing their popularity to skyrocket.
Pursuit of Digital Freedom
The internet is shrinking, literally. Governments, local internet service providers (ISPs), and even tech giants like Facebook seem to be making no attempt to hide their intent to curb online freedom.
Internet users in Turkey, China, Saudi Arab, North Korea, and many other countries were finding themselves completely deprived of digital freedom. To them. the concepts of freedom of expression, free access to information, and entertainment without boundaries were proving to be nothing short of a myth.
Fortunately, VPN apps emerged to provide them and other internet users with an easy passage across hurdles like geo-restrictions and online censorship through location switching. With a number of servers located worldwide, users had the freedom to connect to any server of their choice and browse the web from that virtual location.
Of course, internet users weren’t going to miss out on such a convenient and reliable way to tackle the nuisance of shrinking internet freedom, and this led to the tech quickly gaining traction across the globe.
VPN apps sure have earned themselves a lot of respect for themselves in just a short time due to their potential, availability, and most importantly of all, their user-friendliness. It sure would be interesting to see if they continue to remain this useful in the years to come, or if they bow down to relentless forces bent on turning the internet into a dangerous and mundane space.