Last updated on February 5th, 2016 at 11:32 am
In case you are not yet aware, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is imposing very strict Internet censorship. As of October 2014, Saudi Arabia is ranked by Reporters Without Borders at 164th out of 180 countries that suppress press freedom. The Saudi government directs all international web traffic through a proxy with a content filter. This means they decide which web content should be allowed or not. But with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you can unblock all restricted sites in Saudi Arabia.
First, you must understand that the Saudi’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) regulates all the online activities of the people in their country. The CITC allows Facebook, Skype, and Twitter, but did not allow Viber, a smartphone app that allows users to send free messages and to make free calls to fellow users. A lot of websites are also blocked, particularly those with pornography, gay and lesbian content, political criticisms, and showing disrespect to their religion.
But thanks to VPN, you can have access to any website while you are in Saudi Arabia and even elsewhere around the globe. Once you sign up to a VPN, you will be provided with a new IP address. This means your real IP address will be hidden, as well as your geo location. The best part is that your web traffic is encrypted, which means you may be seen but not your online activities. This technique is being used by businesses for years to protect their sensitive information from hackers and identity theft.
VPN is absolutely safe and secure, even if you are in a public Wi-Fi hotspot. With a minimum of 128-bit encryption, no third party can have access on your data, not even the strict Internet police of Saudi Arabia. And because many people these days are using smartphones, VPN service providers have made their services applicable to any mobile device and operating software. There are actually many other ways to browse the Internet anonymously, but so far VPN offers the highest level of security.
But is using VPN in Saudi Arabia legal? For the record, there is no official law in Saudi that states that VPN is illegal. In fact, there are many companies in the country that use VPN. Note that the purpose of VPN is to protect the privacy of Internet users, so there is really no reason why VPNs will be banned, not only in Saudi but also in the other parts of the world. However, there were reports that some governments will regulate this service. But saying that it will be totally banned is not likely possible.
Yes, it is true that some VPN service providers have been blocked in some countries in the Middle East. However, the reasons that caused them to be blocked are not clear. In fact, some of them were already allowed again. Nevertheless, this is why you should be careful in choosing a VPN service provider. Get only those that have reliable services and have established a credible name in the industry. For obvious reasons, it is not advisable to use free VPNs especially if you are a very active Internet user in Saudi.